• Cameras on Avery County school buses catch drivers illegally passing

    By: Dave Faherty

    Updated:

    AVERY COUNTY, N.C. - Nearly half of the buses in the Avery County School District are now equipped with cameras on several locations around the bus that can see any car trying to pass a stopped bus.
     
    The cameras have caught several drivers break the law including an 18-wheeler that passes a bus with its stop-warning sign clearly out. 

    "One of the reasons is what I'm holding in my hand right here, distracted driving with a smartphone cellphone, superintendent David Burleson said. “We see so many on the videos people driving texting taking pictures."
     
    The district got many of them through a state grant leading to nearly 80 citations this school year.
     
    One video shows a bus driver had to signal the child with his hand not to cross after he spotted a car that clearly wasn't going to stop for the student standing at his bus stop.

    "It makes my heart pound you know,” transportation director Brian King said. “They're in a hurry, cellphone distracted and it's a problem here in Avery County."

    "And every time that happens we put a child's life in danger," Burleson said.
     
    No one knows that better than the students who are riding the buses and see the problem up close.

    "It would be awful if someone were to get run over or injured or anything like that," student Carrie Oaulery said.

    Penalties for drivers are stiff if they get caught. There is a $500 fine, five points against the driver’s license and vehicle insurance could increase.

    No one knows that better than the students who are riding the buses and see the problem up close.

    Carrie Oaulery, Student

    "It would be awful if someone were to get run over or injured or anything like that," student Carrie Oaulery said.

    Penalties for drivers are stiff if they get caught.   There is a $500 fine, five points against the driver’s license and vehicle insurance could increase.  

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