New North Carolina law creates new fines for the illegal passing of school buses

Senate Bill 55 will allow school buses to install cameras to catch drivers passing stopped school buses

Sophie Misterek, Layout Assistant

It is common knowledge that you must stop for a school bus that is allowing children to enter or exit. However, according to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, over 3,100 drivers pass stopped school buses every school day, and only 1,600 buses statewide have been equipped with security cameras that detect illegal passing.

It is for this reason that, this summer, Governor Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 55 into law. This new law will allow school buses to not only install new cameras on buses to catch perpetrators, but to fine them hefty amounts of money.

Perpetrators will be fined 400 dollars for a first offense, 750 for a second, and 1000 for every other offense.

“I think [Senate Bill 55] will be effective because if someone gets caught, they will more than likely not repeat their actions.” said Sarah Lang, junior.

Before the bill was signed into law, there were already different measures in place to prevent these types of situations from occurring. For example, flashing stop signs will swing out from the side of the bus. Bus drivers are also required to make sure there are no oncoming cars, or that cars nearby are stopped, before letting a child off the bus.

Nevertheless, since 2009, seven children have been killed by these types of incidents, and plenty of others have been wounded.

The General Assembly, along with concerned parents, believe that the threat of heftier fines on perpetrators will help decrease the amount of violations that occur.

“I feel like [the law] will help reduce these situations, because a lot of people still pass stopped school buses, but if they are like ‘I’d get fined so much for this’, it won’t happen,” said Mya Mallard, sophomore.

All money collected from the fines will be given back to the county in which the crime was committed.