School buses on North Carolina roadways get a special deference that other motorists should be aware of. Since schoolchildren are sometimes unpredictable, the buses transporting them act as a no-passing zone in some situations to protect kids who might not be seen by drivers on the road. Illegally passing a school bus can result in a traffic violation. According to a North Carolina Highway Patrol Master Trooper, law enforcement is planning efforts to watch for drivers not following the law.
The rules for passing school buses vary based on the type of road being traveled. On a two-lane roadway, all traffic on both sides of the road must stop for a stopped school bus. The same rules apply when a buss is on a two-lane roadway separated by a turn lane in the center.
On a four-lane road that does not have a median at the center, all traffic traveling in both directions must stop when a school bus stops. On divided highways that have four or more lanes separated by a median, however, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop for a stopped school bus.
On roadways with four or more lanes with a turning lane at the center, only drivers following the school bus are required to stop. North Carolina has developed a School Bus Initiative whereby state troopers follow school buses when they’re available to make sure other drivers on the road are obeying traffic rules.
In a case where a person receives a traffic violation or citation for incorrectly passing a school bus or for another reason, an attorney may be able to help. Legal counsel could negotiate a payment schedule or reduced penalty or develop a strategy to fight traffic violations. An attorney with experience handling traffic violations might represent the client during official hearings.