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It appears that North Carolina motorists could soon see a tougher penalty if the driver passes a stopped school bus on the road and strikes a passenger who dies after getting off the bus.

On Tuesday, a Senate judiciary committee approved a measure designed to let school districts use cameras and recording devices to collect evidence designed to prove that someone broke the law by passing a stopped school bus.

The NC state committee approved the bill and an amendment that would make a motorist guilty of a felony for striking a passenger who dies. The offender could receive active jail time if the discharged passenger dies. The current law allows for community service as a punishment and doesn’t differentiate if the passenger is killed.

This measure is now going through the Senate Appropriations Committee for final approval. Likelihood of the measure passing is very high.

In most cases when we speak of buses what we are talking about are school buses with many children on board. The term "precious cargo" is really an understatement in this situation. With the passage of tougher laws and penalties on car drivers who could negligently strike kids that are unloading from school bus should help reduce these occurences. When a car driver starts to dart past a bus would think twice and maintain the legally safe distance behind or in front the stopped school bus.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, as well as the Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY, who handle car, truck, railroad, and medical negligence cases and more.

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