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'Dangerous and illegal act' | South Carolina officials warn of school bus stop consequences

New South Carolina buses now have 360-degree cameras to help drivers with blind spots.

CLOVER, S.C. — South Carolina students head back to school Monday, and with the return of students also comes the return of buses and traffic.

"You got to respect that yellow bus. It takes two to three minutes at most bus stops to load or unload," Sgt. Matt Southern with the South Carolina Highway Patrol said. "Let that bus driver get those kids on and off that bus safely." 

Southern oversees bus safety for the Highway Patrol. He offers these tips for drivers who aren't sure when they're allowed to pass a bus or what they're supposed to do when the lights start flashing. 

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School bus road rules

The rules of when to stop for a school bus are fairly simple. 

If you’re on a two-lane road, all cars on the road are required to stop. On multilane highways, only cars traveling in the direction of the bus need to stop.  

Credit: SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNMENT
When to stop for school buses in South Carolina.

For those who don't follow the law, there are serious consequences.

"That's a dangerous and illegal act. A kid could get hurt a kid could get killed. It's a steep fine," Southern said. "It's $1,062.50 here in South Carolina and puts six points against your driver's license."


New technology

Buses are getting new technology to help keep students safe.

Newer buses in South Carolina have a 360-degree camera that alerts drivers to what's surrounding their bus. 

With such a big vehicle, blind spots for drivers are often a problem. The new technology helps allow students to safely cross the street. 

"We want parents to talk to their kids, particularly our little kids about making sure that they can see the bus driver and the bus driver can see them," Southern said.

Even though buses don't have seat belts, they have additional protection to keep students safe. 

"You notice the seats are close together, high back seats padded at the top," Southern said. "They're designed to keep the kids safe in the event of a crash."

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