RALEIGH, N.C. — Drivers illegally passing stopped school buses remain a serious problem in North Carolina and one Wake County parent says it happens every day at her daughter’s bus stop.
For the past year, Jennifer Hunt says whenever she drops her middle school daughter off at the bus stop she witnesses drivers passing the stopped school bus.
“I just look at the bus driver and she just shakes her head,” said Hunt. “I’m shocked that it’s become such an easy thing to do and it just drives me crazy.”
She recorded a video with her phone on Wednesday morning that shows drivers illegally passing the stopped school bus from behind as her daughter was getting on the bus. Hunt claims she counted seven drivers passing the school bus on Tuesday morning.
The bus stop is at the entrance to their subdivision on Mitchell Mill Road close to Highway 401. Hunt believes most drivers are not paying attention because they’re trying to make the green light at the intersection.
Last September, Hunt’s daughter got a first-hand look at the dangers of passing a stopped school bus. She rode the same bus as the 11-year-old who was hit by a car while he was about to board their school bus.
The child, 11-year-old Henry Cruz, lost a tooth and suffered a fractured knee in the collision. A 16-year-old Rolesville High student was charged in connection with the incident.
“When I see it happen here, and then the next bus stop over the little boy was hit, it just makes you wonder where else is this happening,” said Hunt. “Just pay attention, its peoples’ lives you’re putting in danger — kids’ lives.”
Last September, North Carolina announced plans to install more cameras on buses to catch those who illegally pass school buses. Officials with the Department of Public Instruction say 3,194 drivers illegally passed stopped school buses in one day last year in North Carolina.
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 reminds drivers to watch out for stopped buses with the #Brake4Buses campaign.