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March 21, 2013  |   Comments (4)   |   Post a comment

Bill would raise speed limit for North Carolina school buses

By Thomas McMahon


RALEIGH, N.C. — A new bill aims to allow all school buses in North Carolina to drive up to 55 mph.

The current speed limit for school buses in the state is 45 mph, although school activity buses can go up to 55 mph.

Primary sponsor Rep. Mark Brody told the North Carolina House transportation committee on Tuesday that the bill stems from his own experience driving a truck on an expressway and having to “veer around” school buses that were traveling at 45 mph. He called slow-moving buses in those high-speed roads “a hazard.”

Brody also noted that surrounding states, including Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina, allow their school buses to drive faster than 45 mph, and he said that a survey sent to those states found that they haven’t had safety issues with their higher school bus speed limits.

The 55 mph speed limit proposed in the North Carolina bill would apply to loaded and unloaded school buses.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is neutral on the bill.

Rep. Larry Pittman said during the Tuesday committee meeting that some motorists take "stupid chances trying to get around these slow buses on the interstate and that sort of thing. And so I'm in favor of allowing [school buses] to go a little faster on those highways.”

But Rep. Mike Stone was among those who took issue with the proposal. He said that as a father of school-age children, he was concerned about the bill’s priorities.

“I don’t care if they get there 5 minutes early or 10 minutes late — I just care that they get home,” Stone said after mentioning his 6-year-old and 10-year-old. “I can understand how people want those buses to go faster. … But the most important thing is that those buses get there safely and get home safely. So therefore, I’m having a lot of difficulty with this bill.”

Brody noted that school districts throughout the state would still have the option of limiting their school buses to 45 mph.

The transportation committee discussed the bill at length during the Tuesday meeting but has not yet voted on it. If the bill passes the transportation committee, it will proceed to the education committee.

Other recent news from North Carolina:

North Carolina bill would revoke bus passers' licenses

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Read more about: North Carolina

Wow. You guys are pathetic. It's the buses fault that you can't drive safe? Turn off cruise control and watch whats around you. pathetic

reality    |    Mar 21, 2014 04:19 AM

Actually I call them moving Roadblocks of Death! I came online seeking information as to wether or not anyone in our State Legislature was aware of this problem? For only moments ago on my way Home from RTP I had to use my NASCAR skills to negotiate my way through people who got nervous around a slow moving School Bus. These vehicles doing 45mph at a time when people are trying to make their way home is surely dangerous! Individuals are forced into the other two lanes suddenly! I've been puzzled for about this for three years now since I've been here North Carolina wondering if anyone in their right mind just noticed this danger to both the children on the bus at an individuals driving near them!

Gene    |    Apr 29, 2013 02:22 PM

This is something that needed to be done a while back, with me being in 10th, soon 11th grade I've seen a lot of near collisions with people trying to pass our school buses. Put more safety equipment on the bus & raise the governor. Problem solved!

Zachary    |    Mar 25, 2013 04:05 PM

I live in Wisconsin, and have driven a school bus for 21 years. I believe that all these legislators that think driving a school bus 45mph on a highway should get out of their comfort zone, and get their CDL and actually drive the bus before they make stupid claims. It is very dangerous going so slow. Cars dont pay attention as it is to school busses, and now you want them going slow on a highway. Rep. Stone says he prefers that he has school age children on the bus and prefers them to get home safe, but if you have big trucks and cars going 60-70mph on the road, and they come up on a slow moving school bus and dont realize its going at a snails pace....then what happens when the bus gets rear eneded.....45mph, is not a "safe speed" it is a hazzard, and I believe that if the school bus was rear ended and children were hurt by the accident, then that states government and Rep. Stone should be directly liable for the death of any involved. If they talk safty...then they should take the responsability...but on the other hand...if the driver is paid hourly..what the hell....more money in thier pocket...

Andre Waichulaitis    |    Mar 22, 2013 04:17 AM

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