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Originally published: 2012-10-18 17:51:06
Last modified: 2012-10-18 17:52:30

Long arm of the law

School bus safety is an issue that must take no backseat to other concerns on our roadways.

Passing stopped school buses, following buses too closely and failing to follow the road rules for school zones threaten the safety of our children. Daily, those threats are mounting.

The N.C. Highway Patrol is now conducting a campaign to improve traffic safety around our school buses and school bus stops: “Operation Stop Arm.” Simply, troopers are assigned to patrol school zone areas or to follow buses as they proceed along their routes.

In 2011, a similar campaign netted more than 1,000 violations — a disturbing number statewide, but more disturbing in the High Country where narrow roads and blind curves increase opportunities for serious harm.

It is up to drivers to educate themselves about the rules surrounding stopped school buses and school zones — and the consequences for actions that break those rules.

A felony charge, for instance, awaits the driver who strikes a person by illegally passing a stopped school bus. But far worse are the consequences that could await the child who is hit.