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Harsher penalties proposed for drivers passing stopped school buses

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While you're driving, you've probably seen it; a school bus with a flashing stop sign letting drivers know not to pass.

But not everyone follows the law and kids are put in harm's way.   

It's the law. And some state legislators say it needs to be beefed up to stop drivers from endangering children.

If you pass a school bus while the flashing stop sign is out, you may want to think twice.

Some state lawmakers are trying to place harsher penalties for stop arm violations.

North Carolina House Representatives Edward Hanes Jr. and Donny Lambeth introduced House Bill 428 after hearing about two kids hit by drivers while trying to get on and off a school bus.

A 2012 study recorded more than 3,000 people passed stopped school buses illegally in one day.

It's something lawmakers say is dangerous and needs to fixed. 

"Since that was put in place before had not worked, that a lot of times folks understand losing their license and they understand severe fines, we want folks to understand that we are serious about it. And I think we've added enough language that people will get the message," said Edward Hanes Jr., NC House Representative.

The bill also encourages school districts to install cameras on the stop sign to catch anyone violating the law.

If passed, a first offense would net a driver a class one misdemeanor and $500 fine.  A driver that hits someone as a result of not stopping would count as a felony offense, costing the driver $2,500.

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