Back the Bus.

Early on the morning of March 27, 2017 one family faced a horrific tragedy, an entire community feeling affect, a student body of a local high school mourning and some of those students on a bus traveling to school witnessed a careless act leading to death of a friend, a neighbor, a classmate.
From this horrific event, our community is outraged and rightfully so. Even more so, we are uniting and standing together to ensure there will not be a repeat of tragedy for any child or family.

Many mornings and afternoons people across the county have witnessed vehicles not stopping for school busses that are at a complete stop, sign out, lights on, all indicating that there is a child loading or being dropped off at their neighborhood stop point. NC G.S. 20-217 (a) states,

§ 20-217.  Motor vehicles to stop for properly marked and designated school buses in certain instances; evidence of identity of driver.
(a)        When a school bus is displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red lights and the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, the driver of any other vehicle that approaches the school bus from any direction on the same street, highway, or public vehicular area shall bring that other vehicle to a full stop and shall remain stopped. The driver of the other vehicle shall not proceed to move, pass, or attempt to pass the school bus until after the mechanical stop signal has been withdrawn, the flashing red stoplights have been turned off, and the bus has started to move.”
The first issue in this case is this very law is discussed and required to answer questions on, (or was before in some form) is on the NC drivers license test and in other states as well. This is a general requirement in every state. In NC, BOTH DIRECTIONS OF TRAFFIC MUST STOP FOR A STOPPED SCHOOL BUS:
1. On a two lane road;
2. On a two lane road with a center turn lane; and
3. On a four lane road without a median.
ONLY TRAFFIC FOLLOWING THE BUS STOPS:
1. Divided highway with 4 lanes or more with median separation; and

2. Roadway of four lanes or more with center turning lane.

To say it briefly, if you are on a 2-lane and a bus stops, blinking lights on, puts out a stop sign, STOP!! There’s no yield, there’s no hurry up and go, there’s no go slow past the bus! STOP! STOP! STOP! It is not relevant to what side of traffic you are on, you have to stop. If you are on a 4-lane and BEHIND the bus, you have to stop regardless of whether there’s a median or turn lane when the lights on the bus come on, the stop sign comes out and the bus is stopped. However, when on a 4-lane road in the opposite direction of the bus, you only stop IF there is no median or turn lane. (RRouseLaw.com)

If you need a visual, the graphic above hopefully can help you gain a better understanding and remember this very important information that can save lives, protect drivers from making life changing errors. For more information visit the North Carolina School Bus Safety Website.
So, what can we do from here to better warn, alert and give drivers a better notion to STOP and when? I know, some of you- like myself, will say, “It’s a huge, yellow bus with lights blinking and a stop sign and we’ve only learned to stop for busses practically our whole lives considering the majority of us have rode one at some point in life.” But, we obviously have a problem now even with this experience, people are passing busses that are stopped in oncoming lanes loading or dropping children off. Moving on, 5 N.C. districts were given stop sign cameras to test out from an article on SchoolbusFleet.com.
Who can we contact/call?
N.C. Senate
300 N. Salisbury Street, Room 300-B
Raleigh, NC 27603-5925
(919) 715-3034
Harry.Brown@ncleg.net

If we cannot obtain results by utilizing political points of contact, he owns a car dealership.

2223 N. Marine Blvd., Jacksonville, NC 28546

Phone 910-347-3777

2. NC House Committee on Transportation meets on Tuesday’s. “Click” here for the list of members.

3. Onslow Co. DOT “Click” highlighted area for a comment box. General questions are answered Monday-Friday 8a-5p. Call Customer Service office at (919) 715-7000.
4. Onslow Co Purchasing Department
234 NW Corridor Boulevard
Jacksonville, NC 28540

 

Phone: 910-455-1750

 

Fax: 910-455-3024
This department is responsible for purchasing within ANY department. So, I feel it’d be worth a shot to contact (which I plan to do myself also but there’s power in numbers) expressing the need for Stop Sign Cameras for our buses.
5. Board of Commissioners:

         Jack Bright, Chairman

         Royce Bennett, Vice Chairman
         Paul Buchanan, Commissioner
         Robin Knapp, Commissioner
         Mark Price, Commissioner

6. Section Chief, Transportation Services
N.C. Department of Public Instruction
6319 Mall Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-6319

Phone: 919-807-3579
Fax: 919-807-3578
email: Kevin.Harrison@dpi.c.gov

Former Section Chief Derek Graham retired. When the cuts in the bill proposal that would hurt bus funding came up just a few years back, he said in an article with WRAL, ““We’re well aware of some of the differences that take place across the state. This bill would require that we develop a policy that would need to include such things for part inventory,” says Derek Graham, Section Chief, Transportation Services at the Department of Public Instruction.” Now Kevin is his replacement and should be of service in this area.

Local leaders reach to state leaders, state to obtain the federal help as needed if needed. It’s our duty to be heard in this in as many ears as possible.
As I find more information, I receive responses from offices and leaders, I will share that via a blog post or Facebook post on my blog page A Mel’O Theory.

Disclaimer
I’m an independent writer (blogger) who writes on various topics as I wish to, whether it be product reviews, community or national issues, hot topics, current events or simply subjects I may be passionate about. The above written context includes information I have researched on my own, websites and sources included with highlighted links that will route you to the original source to obtain a deeper understanding of the information I likely have paraphrased yet not altered the intent of the context conveyed. I am not legally responsible for any individual who may read this or articles mentioned and fail to comply with any NC or other state driving laws and encourage each person to be certain in understanding and knowledge of bus and all other laws per state you are driving in as you do so. I am not receiving any financial support or monetary gain by providing this information herein this blog posting nor am I affiliated with, employed by or a member of any organization listed in this publication.

#BackTheBus -MelOTheory

 

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