Governor McCrory Stresses Staying Safe When Traveling Back to School
Posted 8/19/2015 10:28:39 AM
Raleigh, N.C. – More than 1.5 million students across the state will head back to the classroom next week, and North Carolina officials want to make sure those students arrive safely and ready to learn.
With more cars, buses and pedestrians packing North Carolina roadways, Governor Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol urge motorists to stay alert and exercise caution on the road, especially around schools, crosswalks, school buses and bus stops.
“Safety, especially the safety of our students at this time of year, is our number one priority, and we want all drivers to stay alert and slow down as more children will soon be standing at bus stops, crossing the road to get on buses and walking or riding their bikes to schools,” said Governor McCrory. “We also want to remind all drivers, particularly our teen drivers, to put their phones away, keep their eyes on the road and avoid all distractions and slow down.”
In Wake County during the first month of the last school year, one student was hit and killed while waiting for the bus, and two teens were killed in crashes on their way to school. Seven students statewide were hit and injured crossing to get on the bus or at the bus stop during the entire 2014-2015 school year.
“These tragic accidents can be prevented if drivers, parents and students practice simple safety measures. Rushing to save a few minutes or a distraction of a few seconds can trigger life-altering or life-ending consequences,” said NCDOT Secretary Nick Tennyson.
While texting, the average time your eyes are off the road is five seconds. That's enough time to drive the length of a football field blindfolded when traveling at 55 mph. With more than 14,000 school buses traveling North Carolina highways daily, paying attention to the road and avoiding distractions can help keep everyone safe.
“As we begin the school year, our troopers will be closely monitoring school buses. Our number one goal is to ensure the safety of the public but particularly our children,” said Col. Bill Grey, Commander of the Highway Patrol. “To accomplish this goal, we must work together to keep our school children safe and to educate all drivers on the importance of school bus safety.”
Back-to-school safety tips for students and parents:
Cross in crosswalks.
Watch for and obey crossing guards.
Look both ways before crossing the street.
Be careful crossing multiple lanes of traffic.
Make sure each lane of traffic is clear before you cross.
Pay attention. When walking, avoid distractions like cellphones.
Obey signs and signals.
Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic.
Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the road as you can.
Back-to-school safety tips for drivers:
Know when to stop for school buses. (Read more.)
Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
Obey all posted school zone speed limits.
Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
Before turning, be sure the path is clear.
Slow down near bus stops, schools and playgrounds.
No drinking and driving.
Avoid distractions such as food, passengers and using mobile devices.
Texting while driving is illegal.
North Carolina has stiff penalties for motorists who fail to comply with school bus safety rules.
There is a $500 penalty for motorists who are caught passing a stopped school bus, and a five-point penalty on their driver license.
A driver who passes a stopped school bus and strikes someone will face a Class I felony and be fined a minimum of $1,000.
The penalty increases to a Class H felony and fine of $2,500 if someone is killed.
Additional driving tips for teens:
Cellphone use is illegal for drivers under 18.
For provisional license holders, no more than one passenger at a time.
For more information, visit the Watch for Me NC campaign website to learn more about what you can do to keep roads safe for everyone.
Visit the NCDMV website for more information about school bus laws, or consult the North Carolina Driver’s Handbook. To get a copy, call 1-877-DOT-4YOU or visit www.ncdot.gov/dmv/driver_services/drivershandbook.
View on NCDOT.gov
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