Onslow County Schools making safety upgrades to buses after fatal accident

By  | 

ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - According to state officials, a total of 14 students have died in North Carolina from people illegally passing stopped school buses.

As students prepare to head to class, one school district is preparing for how they'll keep those students safe.

It's been almost five months since a student was tragically struck and killed in Onslow County while getting on the school bus.

Onslow County Schools says they're hoping new stop arms and new cameras will prevent that kind of tragedy from ever happening again.

The district says they have around 3,000 stop arm violations each year.

27 Onslow County school buses will now have stop arms that extend out 6.5 feet, compared to the usual two feet.

Those same buses will be part of a pilot program with new cameras.

The cameras will have eight camera heads, capturing a photo of the driver, car, and tags.

It was in March of this year that 16-year old David Palacio was struck on Dawson Cabin Road while trying to board the bus.

Onslow County Schools says they hope to prevent that type of tragedy from ever happening again.

"We are now operating in 20 counties with over 400 stop arms in the state of North Carolina," says Mary Suzan, an extended stop arm trainer. "In those counties we have been reported that there's a 50- to 90-percent decrease in stop arm violations."

The cameras have yet be installed, but Onslow County Schools says they hope to have them ready by next week.

The district says they transport around 1,600 students and safety is the utmost priority.

For those who are unsure of when they must stop for a school bus, they can visit ncbussafety.org.