Back to School Safety Tips

Students 

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) offers students a few basic rules of safety as they head back to school.

  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the road as you can.
  • Be careful when crossing multiple lanes of traffic. Make sure each lane of traffic is clear before you cross.
  • Be predictable to drivers and follow the rules of the road - obey signs and signals.
  • Cross the street where you have the best view of traffic.
  • Look for cars in all directions - including those turning left or right—before crossing the street; never assume a driver will stop.
  • Pay attention to where you’re walking and take the focus off your cell phone or other electronic device. A moment of distraction could have disastrous consequences.
  • Cross in the crosswalk.

Motorists 

NCDOT reminds motorists of these basic driving tips as the new school year approaches: Always stop for a stopped school bus. If the lights are flashing and the stop sign is out, you must stop, including in the following situations:

  • If you are traveling a 2-lane road, all traffic in both directions must stop.
  • If you are traveling a 2-lane road with a center turn lane, all traffic from both directions must stop.
  • If you are traveling a 4-lane road without a median separation, all traffic from both directions must stop.
  • If you are traveling a divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation, only traffic following the bus must stop.
  • If you are traveling a road with 4 or more lanes with a center turn lane, only traffic following the bus must stop.
  • Be prepared to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
  • Before making a turn, be sure the path is clear of any pedestrians.
  • Slow down in areas where you are likely to find pedestrians, such as near bus stops, schools and playgrounds.
  • Avoid distractions such as food, passengers and using mobile devices.

Penalties 

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, with the possibility of license revocation.
  • There is a $250 penalty for speeding in a school zone in North Carolina. 
  • Passing a stopped school bus can cost motorists five points on their driver’s license and 8 points for commercial vehicles.

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 DMV website for more information about school bus laws.