RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – New numbers from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction show drivers illegally passing stopped school buses continues to be a problem.
Officials held a statewide count in March and spotted over 3,100 drivers passing stopped school buses on one day in North Carolina. It’s about the same number of drivers when they did a similar count in 2015.
“It’s been consistent over the years and it’s a very troubling statistic for us,” said Benjamin Matthews with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. “Those drivers are under a good bit of stress because number one they want to make sure your kids stays safe and number two they’re looking out and paying attention to what they’re doing traffic.”
Some of the best school bus drivers in the state gathered at the State Fairgrounds Thursday for the state’s school bus driving competition. For many of them, their number one concern these days is other drivers passing stopped school buses.
“A lot of them still don’t pay attention to the stop arm so we really gotta pay attention and look before you let the kid off,” said Carlton Robertson, a North Carolina school bus driver.
“Oh I see that a lot, I see it a lot and it’s the most dangerous thing,” said Chezuela Faucette, a North Carolina school bus driver.
Officials point to the rise of distracted driving as one of the biggest reasons we’re seeing more drivers passing stopped school buses.
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.
CBS North Carolina 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.