Passing a Stopped School Bus

  • Passing a stopped school bus could be a very costly mistake. If convicted for passing a stopped school bus in North Carolina, the General Statute carries an assessment of five (5) points on your license, a fine of up to $200, and a significant increase in your insurance.

    In December 2013, a bill passed the North Carolina General Assembly to increase the penalties for passing a stopped school bus with the stop arm deployed. Senate Bill 16 amended the law by allowing the Division of Motor Vehicles to revoke the driver's licenses of illegal bus passers. First convictions could result in the revocation of the individual's driver's license for 30 days for the first offense. Passing a stopped school bus is a Class I misdemeanor that is punishable by up to 120 days in jail and significant discretionary fines by the court.

    Suppose a motorist passes a stopped school bus and strikes a child, causing bodily injury. In that case, the driver will be charged with a Class I felony, punishable by 15 months in prison and given fines discretionary by the court.

    It is not uncommon for motorists to drive recklessly when approaching a school bus. When you see the amber lights on a school bus, that means the motorist should start slowing down. The bus driver is activating the amber lights to give the motorist notice that they are getting ready to activate the red lights and stop. Driving recklessly to get around a school bus that is driving safely endangers the motorist and the children on the school bus.

    Help keep the children of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools safe. The North Carolina School Bus Safety organization has compiled some useful information about the North Carolina School Bus Stop Law. Your School Passenger Bus Stop is a short video about the safety of children during a passenger stop. Please refer to the related link, North Carolina School Bus Stop Law, for specific diagrams.

    Speeding in a School Zone

    Slow down to the posted speed limit in a school zone. Speeding in a school zone will cost violators ten (10) times more than last year, after a fine increase went into effect on Thursday, August 25, 2011. The North Carolina General Assembly increased the speeding penalty in school zones and school property from $25 to $250. In addition, the General Statute carries an assessment of 5 points on the motorists' license and an increase in your insurance.

    School zones are in effect to protect children while walking to and from school. Therefore, motorists should be aware of the lower speed in the school zone now that the school is in session. Generally, the school zone speed limits are in effect a half-hour before the start of the school day. And, again, for a half-hour in the afternoon after the students have been dismissed for the day.

    See the North Carolina Bus Safety Web for more information.