‘Operation Stop Arm’ aims to ensure drivers stop for N.C. school buses

Passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 5:17 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2022 at 5:53 AM EDT
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CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Getting children to school safer is what North Carolina state troopers are focused on this week.

Their initiative is called “Operation Stop Arm” and it comes in the midst of National School Bus Safety Week.

Troopers believe many accidents surrounding buses and students can be prevented, which is why they want drivers to pay attention.

With it getting colder and the sun coming up later, troopers are using this week to put drivers on notice that if they don’t stop when a school bus stop arm is out, they’ll face some stiff penalties.

Troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol say more than 14,000 school buses hit the roads across the state every day.

Troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol say more than 14,000 school buses hit the roads across the state every day.

They also say about 3,000 drivers disregard those stop arms and amber lights every day. So, this week, troopers will be patrolling school zones, doing what they call “Follow A School Bus” activities and enforcing violations for drivers who don’t stop and let the kids load and unload safety.

There are some scenarios where drivers may not know when they should stop. Here is what troopers say:

  • If it’s a two-lane road, a two-lane with a center turning lane or a four-lane roadway, all traffic must stop
  • If it’s a four-lane roadway with a median, only traffic following the bus must stop
  • If it’s four or more lanes with a center turning lane, only traffic following the bus must stop

Passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor; drivers will get five points on their license and a minimum $500 fine.

Passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor; drivers will get five points on their license and a minimum $500 fine.

It’s a Class I felony if a driver passes a stopped school bus and strikes a person. It’s a Class H felony should the violation result in death.

More information concerning school bus safety and illegal passing can be found on the Department of Public Instruction’s school bus safety website.