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NC School Bus Safety Laws

5:06 PM, Aug 9, 2012   |    comments
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Stock photo.

In North Carolina, from 1999 to 2009, eight children died because a driver illegally passed a stopped bus. Two of those children were growing up here in the Triad.

Dalton Folwell died in Forsyth County in May 1999. Nicholas Adkins died in Rockingham County in January 2009.

In just one day, 3200 vehicles in North Carolina failed to stop for a school bus. If you consider that an average day, and multiply that number by 180-school days, it adds up to about 576,000 people ignoring stopped school buses in our state each school year.

"Children of North Carolina have always counted on that stop arm as being a halo to their safety. There's no question when you see something as large and as yellow as a school bus with strobe lights flashing on it, a stop arm extended, there is no excuse for passing stopped school buses in this state," Speaker Pro Tempore Dale Folwell said.

Dale Folwell is and was in a position to do something to make school bus laws tougher. However, he refuses to make his efforts about his son and his own family's grief.

"It's hard to legislate common sense or common courtesy. What everyone wants: the court system, law enforcement, the parents and children of North Carolina, what they want, is for people when they see a school bus to be prepared to stop," Folwell said.

Folwell has pushed three bills through the legislature that strengthened school bus safety laws.

* He outlawed "prayer for judgment continued" rulings for stop arm violations. People who used that plea in the past were essentially allowed to walk away without consequences.
* He authored a bill that increases penalties for passing a stopped school bus.
* He wrote a bill that allows districts to install cameras on buses to catch people who illegally pass them.

"Children of North Carolina have always counted on that stop arm as being a halo to their safety. There's no question when you see something as large and as yellow as a school bus with strobe lights flashing on it, a stop arm extended, there is no excuse for passing stopped school buses in this state," Folwell said.

Illegally passing a school bus will earn you five points on your license. No other offense has a higher point value.

WFMY News 2

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