Illegal Passing: Real–Life Successes

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North Carolina Operation Stop Arm
Onslow, New Hanover, and Pender Counties


There are two parts to the program in North Carolina: a state survey and a NHTSA demonstration project.

The first state survey was conducted in 1997 with 99 percent of the school districts participating. In one day, 2,636 violations were reported. After the survey, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) distributed press releases highlighting problem. The survey was repeated in the spring of 1998 with 
similar results.

Based on the 1998 survey results, DPI applied for and received a NHTSA demonstration grant to operate in three counties (Onslow, New Hanover, and Pender). DPI's partners in the project were:

   • Division of Motor Vehicles, School Bus and Traffic Safety Section

   • State highway safety office

   • Local school systems in all three counties

   • Local law enforcement (Sheriff's departments in all three counties as well as local police in Wilmington, Jacksonville, and Burgaw)

   • State highway patrol

   • Local district attorneys' offices

   • Institute for Transportation Research and Education, North Carolina State University

   • The private sector

Education/Awareness Activities

The first step was to make sure that everyone knew the law and the roles and responsibilities of the various players. 

DPI worked with law enforcement agencies and the district attorney to agree on the definition of the violation. 

At an initial meeting of all project participants, the discussion indicated that law enforcement officers were generally skeptical about the initial statewide violation count. They felt that some school bus drivers, in an effort to better


Best Practices Guide: Reducing the Illegal Passing of School Buses