NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington are partnering with UNCW and Cape Fear Community College to determine how to attract businesses that will be a good fit forMore >>
New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington are partnering with UNCW and Cape Fear Community College to determine how to attract businesses that will be a good fit for the community.More >>
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -
According to safety experts, riding the school bus is the safest form of transportation to and from school, but recent numbers show New Hanover County has the highest percentage of stop arm violations.
The NC Department of Public Information shows 66.48 percent of New Hanover County's 176 busses are passed illegally in a single day. That's the highest percentage in the entire state of North Carolina.
"I wish I could say I was surprised by this, but I'm not," said Ken Nance, Transportation Director for New Hanover County Schools. "You have a lot more traffic in neighborhoods in comparison to rural counties like Bladen, Columbus and so forth."
Those numbers are surprising to veteran bus driver Barbara White, who says the violations make her nervous for the students riding her bus every day.
"I've heard across the radios, that several children were crossing in front of a bus, and a car just barely missed them," White said.
White said she warns her students to watch for cars when they unload the bus, but worries that one day a "near miss" will be a "direct hit."
Bobby Taylor with the Brunswick County Schools transportation department said the rules are "pretty simple" to understand, but that doesn't stop drivers from flying passed stopped school busses.
"When you see the amber lights come on, it means the bus is approaching a stop," Taylor said. "When the red lights come on, the bus has stopped and students are getting on that bus or getting off that bus. That's pretty simple."
Taylor also said there are a few exceptions to the rule. He said, "If there's a divider of some sort, whether it's a ditch or a median that is a true divider, that's when [drivers] don't have to stop."
However North Carolina law requires that if you're driving on a four lane road without a divider or a two lane road, even with a middle turning lane, you must stop for school busses.