The 2015-2016 school year has officially begun and you may have noticed our school buses are back on the road in full force. We want to keep our children as safe as possible when it comes to traffic safety, but many drivers forget North Carolina’s rules on stopping for a school bus. According to NCDOT, 3000 cars a day on average pass stopped school buses in North Carolina – not good! Passing a school bus is one of the most severe traffic citations an individual can receive in North Carolina. There’s zero tolerance for drivers illegally passing, as this puts children at direct risk for serious physical injury.
Stopped School Bus Penalties
The penalties a person faces for this charge can be devastating, including license suspensions fines and license points. Here’s what to expect:
Passing a stopped school bus is in violation of G.S. 20-217(a), a Class 1 misdemeanor with a minimum fine of $500. Court appearance is mandatory and the fine cannot be paid and resolved by mail. Five driver’s license points are given to the driver; eight points if driving a commercial motor vehicle. If a driver violates G.S. 20-217(a) and strikes someone, he is guilty of a Class I felony. The driver pays a minimum fine of $1,250 and his license is revoked for two years. If the victim is killed, the penalty becomes a Class H felony. The driver must pay $2,500 and his license is revoked for three years.
Misdemeanor drivers will get their license revoked for one year if it happens again within three years of their first charge. A license is permanently revoked if a driver commits a second felony violation or a third misdemeanor at any period of time.
North Carolina School Bus Stop Laws
A refresher course in school bus traffic safety around this time of the year is always a good idea. Here are the rules you should follow:
Two-Lane Roadway: All traffic from both directions must stop when a school bus stops.
Two-lane Roadway With Center Turning Lane: All traffic from both directions must stop when a school bus stops.
Four-lane Roadway Without Median: All traffic from both directions must stop when a school bus stops.
Divided Highway of 4 Lanes or More with Median: Only traffic following must stop when a school bus stops.
Roadway of 4 Lanes or More with Center Turning Lane: Only traffic following must stop when a school bus stops.
The rules might seem easy to follow but drivers constantly second guess themselves when it comes to driving around school buses. Familiarize yourself with these rules and know when to stop.
Despite the harsh potential consequences for offenders who fail to stop, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the penalties. If you’ve been charged with passing a school bus, or ticketed for any traffic infractions in North Carolina, contact us today. Our Sampson County traffic attorneys and Duplin County traffic attorneys will use all the tools at our disposal to help you keep your license and avoid devastating insurance increases.