Wednesday, December 7, 2011

From Our Director of Transportation - Rhonda Fleming

Are vehicles required to stop for school buses when loading / unloading on a school campus? Yes!

This question was asked of me recently and I added some information to our web page to clarify. In short, passing a stopped school bus on school grounds is a violation just like on the roadway. Motorists can be ticketed and the penalty is 5 points on the driver's license.

On the LAWS AND POLICIES page at is where you find the link to the Stop Arm Law G.S. 20-217:

"When a school bus is displaying its mechanical stop signal or flashing red lights and the bus is stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging passengers, the driver of any other vehicle that approaches the school bus from any direction on the same street, highway, or public vehicular area shall bring that other vehicle to a full stop and shall remain stopped. The driver of the other vehicle shall not proceed to move, pass, or attempt to pass the school bus until after the mechanical stop signal has been withdrawn, the flashing red stoplights have been turned off, and the bus has started to move."

So....what exactly is a "public vehicular area"?

It is defined in G.S. 20-4.01 - the same section where "School Bus" and "School Activity Bus" are defined. That link has been clarified on the LAWS AND POLICIES page as well. Scroll down to section 32 to see the following, which includes school grounds:

"(32) Public Vehicular Area. – Any area within the State of North Carolina that meets one or more of the following requirements:

a. The area is used by the public for vehicular traffic at any time, including by way of illustration and not limitation any drive, driveway, road, roadway, street, alley, or parking lot upon the grounds and premises of any of the following:

1. Any public or private hospital, college, university, school, orphanage, church, or any of the institutions, parks or other facilities maintained and supported by the State of North Carolina or any of its subdivisions.

2. Any service station, drive‑in theater, supermarket, store, restaurant, or office building, or any other business, residential, or municipal establishment providing parking space whether the business or establishment is open or closed.

3. Any property owned by the United States and subject to the jurisdiction of the State of North Carolina. (The inclusion of property owned by the United States in this definition shall not limit assimilation of North Carolina law when applicable under the provisions of Title 18, United States Code, section 13).

b. The area is a beach area used by the public for vehicular traffic.

c. The area is a road used by vehicular traffic within or leading to a gated or non‑gated subdivision or community, whether or not the subdivision or community roads have been offered for dedication to the public.

d. The area is a portion of private property used by vehicular traffic and designated by the private property owner as a public vehicular area in accordance with G.S. 20-219.4."

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