Passing a stopped school bus can be a costly mistake.
A motorist convicted for passing a stopped school bus in North Carolina can face a fine of up to $200. The result is also 5 points on your license. A significant increase in your car insurance often follows.
In 2013, a bill passed the North Carolina General Assembly that would 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.
If a motorist passes a stopped school bus and strikes a child causing bodily injury, the driver could be charged with a Class I felony, punishable by 15 months in prison and given fines discretionary by the court.
So slow down. Asheville City Schools start Wednesday, Aug. 19. Allow time during your morning commute for the increased traffic the school year brings.
Be mindful of reduced speed limits in school zones. Generally, 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.
Know the laws
When you’re driving:
- Yield to people in crosswalks.
- Be prepared for bicyclists to take the whole lane – it’s their right if they need it.
- Pass bicyclists only when it is safe to do so and be sure to give them plenty of room.
When you’re walking:
- Obey all pedestrian traffic signals.
- Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the roadway as you can.
- Look for cars in all directions before crossing a street or parking lot.
When you’re bicycling:
- Obey all traffic signals and come to a full stop at “stop” signs and red lights.
- Ride in the direction of traffic.
- Use front and rear lights and reflectors at night.
- Use hand signals to indicate when turning.
Find more safety tips at watchformenc.org. Look for additional safety educational materials in coming weeks from the City of Asheville. Most importantly, slow down and pay attention for safety, whether you are walking, bicycling or driving.