Wake County one step closer to fining drivers who pass stopped school buses

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – We’ve showed you the videos of a child getting off a school bus, narrowly missed by a car racing past.

Wake County is one step closer to charging people hundreds of dollars if they drive past a stopped school bus.

Local leaders say it’s not just about following the law, but saving our kids.

“It’s a very dangerous situation and we need to protect our kids. We need to get the message out that it won’t be tolerated,” said Wake County parent Ed Aguirre.

Parents don’t want to take any chances when it comes to their child’s safety.

That’s why the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 55 this summer, to allow counties the option of harsher penalties for drivers illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Read Senate Bill 55

“Nothing makes us more upset than to see a car passing a stopped school bus with our kids on board. We just can’t have it. So here’s an opportunity for us to do something about it,” said Wake County Commission Chair Sig Hutchinson.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted Monday to show their support of the law, which will allow Wake County Schools to fine drivers $400 or more, and install cameras on buses to catch offenders.

The money from the fines goes back to the county.

Some parents say the fine is too high and think other methods should be used to address the issue.

“Trying to fix this problem overnight, especially with a monetary value, I don’t think is the answer,” said Wake County parent Nick Stewart.

North Carolina Highway Patrol says during every school day 3,100 drivers pass stopped school buses across the state.

Wake County is the first in the area to take action on the law.

“The first step under state law is for the county commissions to authorize the school boards to move forward. So the school board’s got some research to do, obviously they want to make the best decision for our kids,” said Wake County Commissioner Matt Calabria.

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