BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Troopers are being more aggressive this week in regards to enforcing laws that require drivers to stop for school buses.
Operation Stop Arm kicked off Monday morning and will continue throughout the week. The agency hopes the operation decreases violations and reduces school bus collisions.
The transportation director in Brunswick County showed a video taken in 2008 to county leaders earlier this month of a child in West Virginia who was nearly hit by a car while he was trying to get off the bus.
In the video, you can clearly see the bus' stop arm come out and three cars fly by, despite the bus driver blowing his horn.
Transportation Director Bobby Taylor hopes this video will point out how dangerous it can be for a child to get on a bus.
He says drivers need to be more aware of school buses stopping to drop off children.
"The law enforcement does a wonderful job, but they can't be there all the time," said Taylor. "I think educating the general public on when to stop and the penalties of not stopping is what it's going to take."
The penalty for not stopping is $200. Starting in December, that penalty will be increased to $500.
Since 1998, 13 students in North Carolina have been killed by drivers illegally passing a stopped bus or ignoring its stop signal.
That includes a 17-year-old boy who was killed last Thursday as he crossed a two-lane road northeast of Salisbury to board his bus.
In Brunswick County, bus drivers tell us they always double check for traffic before opening the doors to let a child in or out of the bus. Bus drivers tell us, they haven't seen a big problem with drivers ignoring the bus. However, Taylor says he hopes to install new cameras on five school buses to catch violators in the act.
Troopers in marked and unmarked vehicles will patrol school zones and follow buses through the week.
Copyright 2013 WECT. All rights reserved. AP contributed to this report.
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