Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What if a loved one dies from the injuries sustained in a serious accident while the case is pending?”
In a troubling revelation, officials with the Rowan-Salisbury School District say they have video showing 45 impatient drivers speeding past stopped school buses. Not only is the video incriminating, it reveals how drivers seemingly uninterested in obeying the rules of the road endanger children on a regular basis.
The videos come from several school buses that district officials chose to outfit with special cameras. The cameras were placed to be able to spot vehicles near the bus and capture license plate information to then turn over to authorities. Officials say that since the videos were turned over to law enforcement officials, 43 of the drivers have either been found guilty or pleaded guilty illegally passing a stopped bus with flashing lights.
The issue received increased attention after a 17-year-old student at West Rowan High School was hit and killed last week by a passing driver. Police say that Makinzy Smith died after she was hit by a vehicle driven by Barbara Smith who refused to stop for the school bus.
Rowan County says that other school systems should consider adopting a similar camera system in an attempt to raise awareness over student safety while traveling on buses. According to officials with the NC State Highway Patrol the problem is a widespread one and is certainly not confined to Rowan County.
In fact, figures released by the Highway Patrol show that a pilot program was undertaken last year where bus drivers were asked to keep track of the number of cars they witnessed passing their buses over the course of a single school day. The tally, which was taken in 2011, revealed shocking figures. Bus drivers say that they spotted 3,196 vehicles illegally passing their stopped school buses at over 2,200 school bus stops across the state. This means that thousands of young children were placed in potential danger.
Currently, individuals who are found guilty of passing a stopped bus are convicted of a misdemeanor. Violators usually end up paying a $200 fine and have several points added to their driver’s license. Many are critical of the punishment, saying that it amounts to only a slap on the wrist, with the punishment paling in comparison to the potential danger.
The criminal charges are only ever escalated to a felony if someone is hit and killed, just like what happened last month. Thankfully, North Carolina legislators have approved a new, slightly tougher law that is scheduled to go into effect in December. The law says that people who fail to pay fines associated with passing a stopped bus might not have their vehicle tags renewed. Police say they intend to do their part to crack down on the program by launching “Operation Stop Arm” next month. Officers across the state will aggressively enforce traffic violations, especially those involving school buses or taking place in school zones.
If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys and lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828.
About the Author:
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on Personal Injury, Family Law and Business Litigation. Mr. Arnold began his career handling insurance defense litigation for several major insurance companies. He also went on to handle business litigation cases and high value mortgage fraud cases, primarily in Superior Court.
Mr. Arnold grew up in Charlotte, graduating from Providence Senior High School and continued his education at Belmont Abbey College on a basketball scholarship. After graduating cum laude he attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. In his spare time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time on the North Carolina Coast with his wife and three young children: two daughters and one son.
“Cameras capture drivers passing stopped school buses,” by Tony Burbeck, published at WCNC.com.
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