Although this blog has discussed the possible devastating losses a bus or other commercial vehicle accident can cause, some residents of Cary, North Carolina, may not think about school bus accidents. This is especially true for those accidents involving unprotected children moving toward or away from the bus.
Too many people in North Carolina ignore the rule about stopping in the presence of a school bus when its stop arm is extended. In recent years, bus drivers reported that over 3,000 vehicles illegally passed or otherwise failed to stop for a school bus when they were legally required to do so. This statistic only marked an ongoing problem with people frequently ignoring both North Carolina law and basic concepts of safety and good sense.
North Carolina has taken several steps to correct this problem. For instance, it has enhanced the penalty for passing a stopped school bus with its lights on, meaning that anyone caught doing so will be charged with a criminal offense, much like a DWI or a reckless driving charge. A person who actually hits somebody in the process of passing a school bus will be charged with a felony.
One of the more recent steps was to allow buses to attach cameras alongside their stop arms. These cameras can record people breaking the laws North Carolina has in place to protect children and are a useful tool for prosecuting offenders.
In addition to criminal penalties, when a child is injured in a school bus accident because another driver passed the bus illegally, a family may be able to pursue and obtain compensation. But, a lawyer may be required to receive this compensation.