Raleigh parents asking Wake Schools to move ‘incredibly scary’ bus stop

Raleigh parents asking Wake Schools to move 'incredibly scary' bus stop (Image 1)

A Raleigh family is trying to get the Wake County Public School System to move its child’s school bus stop because parents say drivers frequently pass the stopped bus, but the school system contends the stop is safe.

The 5500 block of Falls of Neuse Road is heavily traveled during the drop-off time for the Greene Elementary School bus stop at Fairfax Drive, and parents are concerned about the safety at that stop.

Craig Chandler and Lisa Oakley say buses are passed so frequently that they were able to capture on camera a driver passing a stopped bus.

On Thursday alone, Chandler said a driver came close to passing the bus, and another driver made a left turn in front of the bus as a child was stepping off of it.

“You can see that car doesn’t seem to be slowing until the last minute, then they decide to stop,” Chandler pointed out. “Over here on this side, something else happens — a car pulls out in front of the bus after my son is off the bus.”

He said, “It’s very concerning because those red lights are flashing, the stop arm is out. They need to stop.”

Chandler and Oakley say they began recording video of the bus stop because they were concerned about their 9-year-old’s safety.

“We go out with that video camera now because we want to catch this so that we can say, ‘This needs to be stopped,’ ” Oakley said.

One of the videos they shared with WNCN on Wednesday showed two cars blowing past the bus. Because police officers happened to be watching the bus stop at the time, those drivers did not get away unscathed.

“I have watched this same scenario so many mornings,” Oakley said.

After filing a formal request with the WCPSS Transportation Department asking for the stop to be changed, Oakley said the school system denied the request saying, “walk paths and the stop location itself have been deemed safe.”

She said she and Chandler are appealing the decision, because she said children should not have to stand beside the busy road.

“It’s enraging and incredibly scary because we have no control over it,” Oakley said.

Wake Schools says children do not have to cross Falls of Neuse Road to get on or off the bus, which is why the bus stop is classified as safe.

On a single day in North Carolina, 3,153 cars passed stopped school buses, according to the state Department of Public Instruction. There were 13,323 school buses on North Carolina roadways on that single day.

The issue of passing stopped school buses is one of rising concern in the state. A total of 13 children have been killed in North Carolina since 1999 by drivers who passed stopped school buses.

Drivers who are convicted of passing school bus face a $500 fine, a hefty five points on their driver’s record and are not eligible for a prayer for judgment.

A driver who passes a stopped school bus and hits someone will face a Class I felony and a minimum of $1,000. The penalty rises to a Class H felony and fine of $2,500 if someone is killed

WNCN has created a public service announcement for school bus traffic law education in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The spot, titled “#BRAKE4BUSES,” addresses school bus traffic law violations.

It focuses on drivers illegally passing school bus stop arms, putting students in danger.

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Copyright 2014 WNCN. All rights reserved.

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