Sunday, April 21
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Law Refresher – When Do You Stop for a School Bus?

School Bus (Photo by sandsun / Adobe Stock)
sandsun / Adobe Stock

ASHEBORO N.C. – With the start of the school year approaching, school buses will be back on the roads soon. Do you know when you are required to stop for a bus?

When to stop

  • Two-lane roadway – All traffic from both directions must stop
  • Two-lane with a center turning lane – All traffic from both directions must stop
  • Four-lane roadway – All traffic from both directions must stop
  • Four-lane roadway with a median – Only traffic following the bus must stop
  • Four or more lanes with a center turning lane – Only traffic following the bus must stop

Passing a Stopped School Bus is a Crime

While most traffic violations in North Carolina are infractions, passing a stopped school bus is a crime under NC § 20-217.

Passing a stopped School Bus is a class 1 misdemeanor with a maximum punishment being 120 days in jail. Don’t think you’ll slip out of that charge either, under NC law, drivers who pass a stopped school bus are not eligible for a prayer for judgment.

Also, get ready to pay. The fine is up to almost $800 when court costs are included and a conviction comes with 5 points on your driver’s license and 4 points on your insurance, which would result in higher premiums of up to 80% for three years.

If a driver strikes a person or student while passing a stopped school bus the crime becomes a Class I felon, with fines between $1,250 and $2,500.

A second conviction for passing a stopped school bus within three years results in a one-year revocation of your North Carolina driver’s license.