GHSP highlights 100th anniversary of bus transportation in NC, bus safety program

ORIENTAL, N.C. (WNCT)–Pamlico County led the way in public innovation with the first school bus in our state 100 years ago.

School buses are the symbol for public education in North Carolina.

The state’s come a long way since the first one debuted, adding additional safety features.

But that still didn’t stop the nearly 1500 drivers who passed a stopped school bus last year.

“It’s a very serious penalty but more importantly it can result in injury and death to the child,” Mark Ezzell, director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, said.

On Tuesday, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program designated September as “Safe to School” month.

“We need to make sure everyone obeys laws related to school bus safety,” Ezzell said. “The thing you must have is enforcement and that’s where we are fortunate to partner with local police and sheriff departments throughout NC.”

Part of the campaign includes three steps.

Officials ask motorists to slow down when passing a bus with yellow lights, give buses plenty of room on the roadway, and most importantly, stop when the red lights are on and the stop arm is out.

Pamlico County Superintendent Lisa Jackson says the county plans to continue to improve the safety of its buses.

“We hope next year to have some of the top of the line buses in our district,” Jackson said. “We’re just really proud of the work our bus drivers do to get our students to school safely.”

60 percent of its students are transported by 23 buses. Half of them currently have stop arm cameras.

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