Governor Cooper Signs into Law Bill Protecting Children on School Buses from Unsafe Drivers

RALEIGH

Today, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law Senate Bill 55 to help protect students from unsafe drivers and give parents and teachers added peace of mind when sending children to the school bus. 

“Speeding past a stopped school bus puts children’s lives at risk, sometimes with tragic results,” Gov. Cooper said. “With this new law in place, we have another tool to help children who ride the school bus travel safely.”

Senate Bill 55 follows several instances of North Carolina students being hurt or killed by unsafe drivers while waiting for or attempting to get on or off the school bus, despite a state law requiring drivers to stop for stopped school buses. With the new law in place, North Carolina school system will be able to use the same technology that catches drivers who run red lights to catch violators who pass stopped school buses. Gov. Cooper began pushing for this important safety change in the law in 2014 while serving as Attorney General.

Senate Bill 55 will allow North Carolina school districts to install cameras on school buses to capture photos or footage of drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses. Under the new law, violators can be issued tickets and ordered to pay a civil penalty or fine of $400 or more. Law enforcement officers can also use the photo or video to bring criminal charges when warranted. 

Some North Carolina school systems have already adopted this technology to protect students, and the new law will enable other school systems to do so once their counties pass authorizing local ordinances.

To learn more about school bus safety in North Carolina, visit ncbussafety.org/Safety/index.html.