Drivers Tracked, Not Caught Passing Stopped School Buses

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Despite an increase in penalties, and the obvious yellow bus, many drivers are still passing school buses that are stopped with its stop-arm extended.

Last week, school districts across the state counted how many drivers broke this law. Winston-Salem Forsyth County school bus drivers counted 139 violations.

Last year, the district reported 91.

READ: More Drivers Ignoring School Bus Stop Arms

"Is important that the public understand how often this happens."

WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower is looking into why districts are tracking these violations but these drivers are not getting caught.

Stop-arm cameras make catching these violators easier. The problem is most buses are not equipped with cameras.

READ: Caught on Camera: Driver Passes Stopped School Bus

"That's one of the hard things in terms of prosecuting people who do this is in order for it to be successful, we need to have a license plate number, we need to have a good identification of the driver and all of those things are very difficult to do.

If you can imagine making sure kids are getting on and off the bus while a car is passing you and then also at the same time try to see the face of the person driving the car and catch the license plate number," explained Theo Helm, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools.

Of Winston-Salem Forsyth County's 305 bus fleet, only 1 has a camera.

In Guilford County, 93 of more than 600 buses have exterior cameras.

The camera WS/FCS uses shoots video from 4 angles to get the driver approaching, and passing the bus.

"We have one of those installed now, we are installing about another 16 to 18 of those."

Winston-Salem Forsyth drivers report a violation at least once a week. The problem again, the drivers usually don't have enough information to catch the culprit.

"It's just very difficult to do that consistently and still keep an eye on kids," said Helm.

GCS drivers have reported 40 violations this school year but none were recorded on camera.The school districts can only hand over a case when they have enough information to help law enforcement.

READ:NC School Bus Safety Laws

READ:How Long Do School Bus Stops Really Take


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