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Melissa Drozdowski Petitions For Stronger School Bus Laws

5:59 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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Snow Camp, NC -- We've all seen one: A big, yellow school bus with flashing lights and a stop arm extended.

They're hard to miss but yet, in North Carolina alone, more than 3,000 drivers pass them in just one day.

Read: It's a School Bus: Here's Where YOU Need to STOP

In the Triad, 4 children have been hit by those passing cars in the past seven weeks.

December 7, an 8-year-old boy in Graham was walking to his school bus when was hit. He survived but had serious injuries.

Just 2-weeks later, Hasani Wesley was hit and killed in Forsyth County.

Then in January, two little girls were hit the same week, just two days and towns apart. They both walked away with cuts and bruises.

There is an obvious problem: drivers are ignoring current laws and putting children at risk.

Read: How Long Do School Bus Stops Really Take?

Melissa Drozdowski has had enough. She is not a politician, but she's trying to change the law. She's started a petition demanding lawmakers to take action.

"We'd like to take the signatures and the momentum and the peoples comments, take those in hand to our legislators and say 'look, there really is this imperative need for this. We have a mandate from voters in your district to really take care of our kids,'" said Melissa.

She wants legislation that will: 
-Retrofit all existing, operational school buses with a second extendable stop arm at the rear of the bus 
-Require stop arms at both the front and rear of all new school buses 
-Increase fines to $500 for the first violation, $750 for the second violation, and $1000 for subsequent violations 
- An automatic six-month license suspension for any driver passing a school bus that is stopped with its lights flashing and stop arm(s) extended 
-Increase license suspension periods for repeat violators

Of those, she says the automatic 6-month license suspension is the most important. 

"That is a real very meaningful penalty because suddenly, you have lost your privilege to drive and it's because you refuse to follow the laws that were set out and that you agreed to when you got your driver's license," said Melissa.

 

So far, Melissa has just over 100 signatures. Her goal is 10,000.

Within the month, she hopes to meet with her local lawmakers about the changes she wants to see made.

If you're interested in reading Melissa's petition, click here.

WFMY News 2

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