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 accessment of 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 that would increase the penalities 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.
If a motorist passes a stopped school bus and strikes a child causing bodily injury, the driver would 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 motorist 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 reckessly to get around a school bus that is driving safely, not only endangers the motorist, but also 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 very useful information about the North Carolina School Bus Stop Law. Your School Passenger Bus Stop is a short video about the safety of the children during a passenger stop. Please refer to the related link, North Carolina School Bus Stop Law for specific diagrams.
Slow down to the posted speed limit in a school zone. Speeding in a school zone will cost violators 10 times more than last year, after a fine increase went into effect on Thursday, August 25, 2011. The N.C. General Assembly increased the speeding penalty in school zones and on school property from $25 to $250. The General Statute carries an accessment of 5 points on the motorists license,and an increase in your insurance.
School zones are in effect to protect children while they are walking to and from school. Motorist should be aware the lower speed in the school zone now that school is in session. Generally, the school zone speed limits are in effect a half-hour prior to the start of the school day, and again for a half-hour in the afternoon after the students have been dismissed for the day.