The North Carolina School Bus Safety Act (HB 428) has passed the N.C. House of Representatives.
State Rep. Edward Hanes Jr., the bill’s lead sponsor, was joined by State Rep. Donny C. Lambeth in making school bus transportation safer for all children. Both men represent Forsyth County.
“This is a great day for the school children of the State of North Carolina. My colleagues, nearly unanimously, stood together to demand compliance from our adult drivers: you do not pass stopped school buses,” said Hanes. “(Winston-Salem/Forsyth County) School Board member Elisabeth Motsinger was the catalyst for this legislation, along with all of our local families who have suffered unthinkable despair and anguish over the past few years due to irresponsible adult drivers. When Ms. Motsinger approached me about running this bill, I knew it was the right thing for our district, city, and State. I’m happy to have worked with Rep. Lambeth, who was instrumental in the success of this bill.”
The NC State Institution for Transportation, Research and Education, estimates that 3,200 vehicles illegally pass stopped buses every day, which would equal approximately 576,000 violations each school year. Last year, Forsyth County resident Hasani N.W. Wesley, a sixth grader at East Forsyth Middle School, was killed when he was hit by a sport utility vehicle while crossing the road to get on his school bus.
The bill increases the penalties and fines for violators to as much as $5000 and revocation of the driver’s license for up to three years.
“Our heart goes out to these families across the state whose children have been injured or killed by irresponsible drivers,” said Lambeth, the former chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education. “We hope that this bill will move us closer to eliminating this terrible activity.”