GREENSBORO, N.C. -- 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.
Passing a stopped school bus puts a child’s life in danger and can even be deadly.
Early Monday, Greensboro police tweeted out a safety reminder asking folks to keep a watchful eye around school buses.
SCHOOL BUS CAMERA LAW
In 2017, North Carolina enacted a new school bus camera law. It allows counties to enact civil penalties as well, based on footage taken from buses, of drivers illegally passing stopped school buses.
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 hundreds of dollars in fines.
Drivers will be charged $400 for the first offense, $750 for the second, and $1,000 for a third offense.
The fines will then be used to pay for safety equipment for school buses.
POINTS ON YOUR LICENSE
If you get busted passing a stopped school, you could get 5 points on your license. If you get enough points on your license, it could make it tough for you to get around every day. The state DMV will suspend your driver's license if you accrue 12 points in 3 years. The first suspension is 60 days. If you've already had your license suspended before - the point system applies differently to you. Anyone who's had a suspended license can't get 8 or more points on their license in a 3 year period. If that happens the 2nd suspension is for 6 months and a 3rd suspension is for an entire year.
WHEN TO STOP FOR A SCHOOL BUS
But do you know the rules of the road when it comes to stopping for school buses?
Here’s what you should do on the road when it comes to stopping for a school bus.
When school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must
Stop on a two-lane roadway.
Two-lane roadway with a center turning lane:
When school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop on a two-lane roadway with a center turning lane.
Four-lane roadway without a median separation:
When school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop on a four-lane roadway without a median separation.
Divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation:
When school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus most stop on a divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation.
Roadway of four lanes or more with a center turning lane:
When school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop with a roadway of four lanes or more with a center turning lane.
You can expect to see increased patrols on the roadways during the start of the new school year. Greensboro Police announced it will conduct "Operation School Watch." Police will be monitoring around school bus stops and school zones. Police will be looking for speeding, seatbelt usage, crosswalk violations, stop bus arm violations and more.
Police will also monitor the driving habits of students as they drive to and from school. They will be looking for crash causing violations which could put students at risk.
The Rockingham County Sheriff's Office and the Rockingham County Schools District joined together to talk back-to-school safety. They want parents, the community to take the extra time needed to allow for a longer commute in the mornings and evenings as school buses hit the road again. Students driving also need to leave earlier so they're not in a rush trying to make it to school.