The North Carolina Highway Patrol completed its Operation Stop Arm campaign Friday, Oct. 23 and will continue to educate and enforce laws to keep children safe.
The campaign, which began Monday, Oct. 19 focused on promoting traffic safety for schools, buses and school bus stops. According to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, troopers followed more than 740 school buses in North Carolina to educate drivers about the dangers that exist around school buses and zones.
Statistics from the the National Highway Transportation Safety Association, showed that 24 children are killed in school bus accidents. One-third of all fatalities are the result of motorists failing to stop for a school bus and one-third of pedestrians are killed as they leave or approach the school bus stop.
In North Carolina, it’s estimated that more than 3,000 drivers violate North Carolina’s school bus stop arm law.
Troopers issued 23 citations to motorists who failed to stop for a school bus during the campaign. Law officials also issued close to 11,000 traffic and criminal violations statewide: 1,098 seatbelt violations; 119 child safety seat violations; and 5,184 speeding violations.
“Our number one priority is the safety of our children,” stated Colonel Bill Grey, commander of the State Highway Patrol. “To accomplish this, we must continue to work together to reiterate the consequences that can result when a driver fails to yield to the flashing lights of a stopped school bus.”
Passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person will receive five driving points on their driver’s license and is subject to a minimum fine of $500. Passing a stopped school bus is a Class I Felony if the driver strikes an individual and carries a minimum fine of $1,250. Should the violation result in a death, the violation would be a Class H Felony and a minimum fine of $2,500.
Emergency officials said they will continue to monitor school buses and zones. First Sgt. Timothy Daniels, of the local Highway Patrol said troopers will continue to search for law breakers.
“We try to do it throughout the year,” Daniels previously said, “not just one week.”
Additional information regarding school bus safety and illegal passing is available on the Department of Public Instruction’s school bus safety website at http://www.ncbussafety.org/
For more information about the campaign, contact Lt. Jeff Gordon, public information officer at (919)825-2733 or Jeff.Gordon@ncdps.gov.
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