CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Authorities say the recent death of a Rowan County teen illustrates why tougher penalties are needed for drivers who illegally pass school buses.
A 17-year-old was killed Thursday as he crossed a two-lane road northeast of Salisbury to board his bus. Authorities have charged the driver with felony passing a stopped school bus.
A law that goes into effect Dec. 1 strengthens penalties. They include a minimum fine of $500 for drivers who pass a stopped bus. In certain circumstances, drivers will lose their licenses.
The head of North Carolina's student transportation division tells The Charlotte Observer that stronger penalties work only if they deter drivers from passing buses in the first place. Otherwise, Derek Graham says after-the-fact penalties come too late for children.