NORTH CAROLINA -- Governor Cooper signed a bill into law on Tuesday that aims to cut down on the number of drivers passing stopped school buses.
Passing a stopped school bus is already a felony in North Carolina. The new law allows counties to enact civil penalties as well, based on footage taken from school bus cameras.
If a school bus camera catches you passing it when the stop arm is out, you will be sent a ticket directly to your house and be forced to pay a fine.
Drivers will be charged $400 for the first offense, $750 for the second, and $1,000 for a third offense.
The fines collected from the driver will go back to the county where the crime was committed. The money will be used to pay for safety equipment for school buses in that county.
Each county can decide whether or not to collect the civil penalties. Districts that don't already have cameras installed will not be required to buy them under the law.
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Each day during the school year, an estimated 3,100 cars pass stopped school buses in North Carolina, according to the Department of Public Instruction.
Since 1999, at least 13 students have been killed getting on or off of the school bus in North Carolina when drivers failed to stop.
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