Highway Patrol cracking down on drivers who pass school buses

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Highway Patrol began its weeklong “Operation Stop Arm” campaign to enforce school zone traffic violations Monday.

Troopers will aggressively enforce stop-arm and other traffic violations in and around schools across the area.

The campaign began at 6 a.m. and will go through Oct. 23.

Over 100 citations have already been issued in the last couple of months.

“The Highway Patrol has issued 118 citations for passing stopped school buses, and we’ve investigated 109 collisions since Aug. 1st involving stopped school buses,” said Sgt. Mike Baker of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

Across the state, troopers will be working school zones and others will be following the buses. Troopers will be driving marked and unmarked patrol cars during the operation.

“We must ensure our children’s safety as they travel to and from school,” said Col. Bill Grey, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. “A child’s life should never be put in danger just to save a minute or two during a daily commute. That’s why we’re going to make sure people know the law as well as the consequences of breaking it.”

The NC Department of Instruction provided statistics on the issue, telling WNCN that on an average school day in North Carolina nearly 3,000 motorists disregard school bus stop arms.

Passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person will receive five driving points on their driver’s license and is subject to a minimum fine of $500. Passing a stopped school bus is a Class I Felony if the driver strikes an individual and carries a minimum fine of $1,250. Should the violation result in a death, the violation would be a Class H Felony and a minimum fine of $2,500.

WNCN has led the way when it comes to bus stop safety in the area with their #Brake4Buses campaign.

The station’s #Brake4Buses PSA has reached more than 30 million people worldwide.

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