Troubleshooter: Bus stop dangers

November 11, 2008 4:21:51 AM PST
Every day, Triangle drivers are putting children in danger and breaking the law and they may not even know it.

A Cary grandmother says she's had enough. Carol Horne tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "Something is going to happen." And based on our exclusive eyewitness video, she has every right to be. Our cameras caught driver after driver blowing by a Cary school bus stop along Harrison Avenue even though the bus lights are flashing and the stop arm is out. In a matter of seconds, we caught one, two, three, four drivers ignoring their brakes and breaking the law. We even caught one driver blowing through the stopped school bus and then another driver who was already stopped behind the bus decided follow the leader and also ignore the flashing red lights. Carol adds, "I get scared to the point where I get the upset stomach."

Carol has good reason to worry. Her 8-year-old grandson Blake catches the bus at her house every morning. Carol adds, "He's my pride and joy and he's the one I'm worried about." Carol says Harrison Avenue has always been busy the twelve years she's lived here but it's gotten worse. It's now one of the more heavily-traveled roads in the Triangle. She watches every day and writes down plates of the driver's who don't stop for the flashing red school bus lights and reports them to police. Every now and then, she takes matters into her own hands. She adds, "I say do you see this big yellow thing? Do you know what it represents? I said excuse me ,that is a school bus that is a red light and that means stop." She says some drivers just don't pay attention. Carol adds, "They're eating their bagels, reading their newspaper, they're on the phone. I had one man trying to do the cross word puzzle."

Do you know what to do? We didn't. So we asked. Here are the laws. On a two-lane road, you always have to stop for a stopped school bus in both directions of travel even if there's a turn lane divider. On four-lane roads without a median, both directions of travel still have to stop. But if there's a median divider, only traffic following the bus has to stop. And on any road wider than four lanes, with a center turning lane, like Harrison Avenue only traffic following the bus has to stop.

Cary police say they do target this area around Harrison regularly along with others bus stops throughout Cary. If you do get a ticket for passing a stopped school bus it's 5 points on your license, and fines up to $200.00. Carol says that's a small price to pay to keep kids safe. She says, "Even if you don't have children, understand these children are our future. We have to be the ones who set the example for our young drivers.

Just how bad is this problem? North Carolina had 2,300 violations reported in just one day recently. You can help fix it by reporting anyone you see passing a stopped school bus. All you need is the plate number, a description of the vehicle and driver and where and when you saw it happen.


Load Comments