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Five students in North Carolina were hurt in 2015 by motorists who passed stopped school buses, and 13 North Carolina students have died due to drivers passing school buses since 1999.

Those facts are the major reasons that starting Jan. 1, 2017, all North Carolina school buses will feature hand signal communication between the bus drivers and students. This new safety feature is in addition to school bus amber warning lights, red lights and stop arms.


All students in the Asheboro school system will be shown a video that shows the hand signals that bus drivers will use with students. Special attention is given to students who must cross the street to get on or off the bus.

How the hand signals work:

  • After the bus stops and all other safety measures are initiated, the bus driver will hold up his palm facing the student to show that the students must wait to go into the street.
  • When it is safe to cross, the driver will give a ‘thumbs up’ signal.
  • The bus driver will point with his index finger to the direction in which the child should walk in the street.

School officials also are working with law enforcement agencies to discourage drivers from illegally passing school buses that are stopped. Some North Carolina school buses are using stop arm violation camera systems to catch drivers in the act.

Our View

Our personal injury attorneys who work in Virginia and North Carolina are pleased that North Carolina public school buses will be required to use hand signals when dropping off and picking up students. This additional safety feature should prevent serious injuries and deaths every year. Hopefully, other states will implement this type of bus driver hand signal program in the future.

Our personal injury law firm often works on cases involving various types of buses. Anyone who is injured in a bus accident could benefit from speaking to a personal injury attorney, as the company or entity that operates the bus could be required to compensate you.


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