RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – More than 3,000 times a day drivers will pass a stopped school bus, according to the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.
“Every time that happens, students’ lives are in jeopardy,” said Kevin Harrison with the Department Of Public Instruction.
For many area schools, the beginning of the academic year starts Monday.
On an average day, 780,000 students ride a North Carolina bus.
One of those students, Middle Creek High School senior Christina Shiver, said “it’s completely natural for you to completely ignore the fact of your surroundings, because you’re not doing anything major. You’re getting on the bus and you’re going to school.”
It’s why officials are making sure drivers aren’t the only ones paying attention at the bus stop.
Since 2016, school officials have made it a requirement for the bus driver to check the surroundings and then give the student a signal it’s OK to cross.
Then it’s up to the student.
Jose Banda, another senior ad Middle Creek High School, told CBS North Carolina, “I’d say every day I look both ways when I cross the street.”
Officials also encourage getting to the bus stop early and putting the technology away.
“No matter what punishments we impose, we’ve got to get to the students. We’ve got to say to the students this is a very important time,” Harrison said. “This is not the time to be worried about anything else but getting across.”
Once a student makes it on the bus, statistics show students are 70 times more likely to get to school safety on the bus than a car.