School bus passings continue despite increased safety steps

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New Hanover County Schools have increased the amount of cameras and put  longer stop arms on its school buses, but leaders from the district said people still pass buses almost every day.

Ken Nance, Transportation Director for NHCS, said there are several stops along Carolina Beach Road that have become routine places where people pass.

"There are certain places where we know there are much higher risk factors than others here in this county," said Nance. "Particularly on the roads that are higher speed limits, but we have cars that pass in residential neighborhoods. The bus is clearly stopped and kids are getting off, but people just ride by as if it doesn't exist."

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Nance said he has several drivers come to him on a daily basis and report problems, but it can be hard for the district to prosecute violators.

"The problem is that if it is just the driver's word, then it is very difficult prosecute in court," he said. "If you do not have that other documentation like video, then it is really hard to get the courts to prosecute somebody."

There are also several different laws that govern when someone must stop depending on the type of road and the direction of drivers.

Nance said he would like to see a more uniform policy where people always stop.

"It would be a great idea," said Nance. "If the stop arm is out, then stop. In fact, it should be the way that everybody operates. If I see a school bus, and I see the yellow lights coming on, then I am prepared to stop. When that stop sign comes out, and I am anywhere close to that school bus I am stopping no matter what direction I am going."

Nance added he wants more people to treat every child as if they were their own.

"If that was the case, I think most people would pay attention and stop everyday," he said. "Right now that is not how people see things. If it is not their child, then they go on by. They should treat it as if every school bus has their child on it and what they would want someone else to do. That is stop."

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