New Bern Police reminding drivers of school bus rules

NEW BERN, NC (WITN) In the wake of a devastating week at school bus stops across the county where five students were killed and several other injured, local law enforcement is reminding drivers of the rules of the road when it comes to school buses.

Too many stop arm violations have the New Bern Police Department reminding drivers what the law is when is comes to school buses.

Kevin Brice, New Bern Police Department says, "It's very dangerous. I'm, we're talking about kids. I have kids myself and I can't imagine if something happened to them boarding or getting of the school bus."

Officers say when you see the flashing lights it's simple. Brice says, "The school bus is going to have the amber flashing lights and basically treat that like a stop light and that means slow down and prepare to stop and those lights are going to go from yellow to red and when it's red it's just like a stop sign or light you must stop at that point in time."

Bus drivers with Craven County Schools say due to drivers failing to stop they must always be on high alert out on the roads.

Jermaine Smith, Transportation Supervisor says, "You don't know what a motorist is going to do once that stop arm is displayed. You don't know if they are going to stop or keep going."

When it comes to knowing when you can keep going or if you must stop for a bus, officers say unless there is a median dividing the road or a road with four or more lanes with a center turning lane, you must stop.

Smith says, "When you see a stopped school bus with their flashing lights and their stop arm displayed please stop, because you're going to hurt someone's child and that is something we don't want to happen."

Passing a stopped school bus is against the law. Officers say it can result in a hefty fine of up to $500.00 and multiple points on your license.

Transportation officials for the school system say some of their buses have cameras on board and drivers are always going to report someone who passes a stopped bus.