Highway Patrol ended its Operation Stop Arm campaign on Friday, Oct. 23. The campaign which began on Monday, Oct. 19 was focused on promoting traffic safety around North Carolina schools, school buses and school bus stops.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), approximately 24 children are killed in school bus accidents in an average year. Very few of these fatalities occur on the bus. Sadly, one-third of all fatalities are a result of motorists who fail to stop for the school bus, and one-third are pedestrians who are killed as they approach or leave the school bus stop.
During the week long enforcement campaign, troopers followed more than 740 school buses across the state to remind motorists of the dangers that exist in and around school buses and school zones. It is estimated that each school day, 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.
In addition, troopers issued 10,865 traffic and criminal violations statewide including the following notable violations:
* 1098 Seatbelt Violations
* 119 Child Safety Seat Violations
* 5,184 Speeding Violations
?Our number one priority is the safety of our children,? said 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.
Despite the end of the campaign, the Highway Patrol will continue to monitor school buses and school zones.
For further information concerning school bus safety and illegal passing please visit the Department of Public Instruction?s school bus safety web site at http://www.ncbussafety.org/.