In support of Operation Stop Arm week the State Highway Patrol is aggressively enforcing stop arm violations and other traffic violations in and around school zones. The operation going on through Friday, October 19. The Patrol expects Operation Stop Arm will decrease violations and reduce school bus collisions. Across the state, troopers are working school zones and others are following the buses. Troopers are driving marked and unmarked patrol cars during the operation. “We must protect our children from traffic dangers,” said Colonel Michael W. Gilchrist, commander of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol. Passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person will receive five driving points on their driver’s license and is subject to fines up to $200. Passing a stopped school bus is a Class I Felony if the driver strikes an individual and a Class H Felony should the violation result in a death. On March 21, over 3,200 cars passed a North Carolina public school bus while stopped with red lights flashing and loading or unloading students. To provide assistance to our law enforcement partners, cameras were recently installed on the outside of some school buses. The Nicholas Adkins Safety Act is clear that video evidence can be used to prosecute stop arm violations. Parents are also encouraged to talk with their children about school bus safety. For further information concerning school bus safety and illegal passing please visit the Department of Public Instruction’s school bus safety web site at http://www.ncbussafety.org/.