New Law On Passing School Buses Takes Effect December 1st

Authorities say the recent death of a Rowan County teen illustrates why tougher penalties are needed for drivers who illegally pass school buses.

A 17-year-old was killed Thursday as he crossed a two-lane road northeast of Salisbury to board his bus. Authorities have charged the driver with felony passing a stopped school bus.

A law that goes into effect Dec. 1 strengthens penalties. They include a minimum fine of $500 for drivers who pass a stopped bus. In certain circumstances, drivers will lose their licenses.

The head of North Carolina's student transportation division tells The Charlotte Observer ( ) that stronger penalties work only if they deter drivers from passing buses in the first place. Otherwise, Derek Graham says after-the-fact penalties come too late for children.