Bus, car, walk or bike? Road rules to get students to school and home safely

ByABC11 Digital Staff WTVD logo
Monday, August 28, 2023
Importance of school bus safety stressed at NC demonstration
In 2022, North Carolina saw 1,075 school bus crashes. In those crashes, 786 people were injured and eight people died.

"Drivers carry the great responsibility of safely sharing our roads," said Captain Todd Harris, of the Chapel Hill Police Traffic Unit. "Slow down, put the phone down, and just focus on the road. The texts, emails, and calls can wait."

Bus, walk, bike, or family car, ABC11 has compiled some road rules, from various law enforcement agencies, for a safe arrival to school and a safe return home.

Riding the Bus - Bus stop safety tips

  • Arrive at the bus stop a few minutes early
  • Parents or a trusted adult should be at the bus stop every morning and afternoon
  • Stay out of the street and pay attention to your surroundings
  • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before getting on or off
  • Stay seated and keep your head and arms inside the bus at all times
  • Do not distract the bus driver

Attention Drivers!

  • Drivers must stop for red, flashing lights and extended 'stop' arms
  • Pedestrians should walk on the sidewalk instead of the street
  • Drivers must never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians
  • Drivers should give school buses at least a 10-feet buffer
(Photo: NC Division of Motor Vehicles, School Bus & Traffic Safety )

When to STOP for a school bus

  • Two-lane roadway - All traffic from both directions must stop
  • Two-lane with a center turning lane - All traffic from both directions must stop
  • Four-lane roadway - All traffic from both directions must stop
  • Four-lane roadway with a median - Only traffic following the bus must stop
  • Four or more lanes with a center turning lane - Only traffic following the bus must stop

Know the main THREE blind spots--Front, Side, Rear!

Here's where a bus driver can lose sight of a child:

  • FRONT - It's never safe to walk close to the front of the bus. Children should walk five giant steps ahead of the bus before crossing in front of it.
  • SIDE - Children should always stay three giant steps away from the side of the bus.
  • REAR - NEVER walk behind the school bus.

Costly Violations

  • A driver in North Carolina can be fined a $500 for passing a stopped school bus and get a five-point penalty on their driver's license
  • A driver who passes a stopped school bus and hits someone will face a minimum of a $1,000 fine as it's a Class I felony

  • The penalty increases to a Class H felony and a fine of $2,500 if someone is killed


  • If your child walks to school, here are safety reminders
  • Always use the safest route and don't take shortcuts
  • Strengths in numbers: Try walking with other students and families
  • Use designated crosswalks
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street
  • Walk, never run across intersections
  • Never, ever get into a vehicle with anyone without a parent or guardian's permission

Biking to School

If your child's school allows them to ride their bike:

  • They should always wear a helmet that fits well
  • Travel along the safest route
  • Follow the rules of the road
  • Ride along with other students when possible

"The texts, emails and calls can wait."

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