The safety of schoolchildren has been a priority every year at the General Assembly. But several years ago former NC House Speaker Pro Tempore Dale Folwell shone a bright light on the safety of children boarding and disembarking from school buses — his own son Dalton was tragically hit and killed by a car that illegally passed a stopped school bus in Forsyth County in 1999. Pro Tempore Folwell was able to push legislation increasing the penalty for passing a stopped school bus to 5 points on a driver's license, but a punishment isn’t always the best deterrent.
In fact, the best deterrent may be a barrier for the passing car. BL Solutions has developed an new school bus arm that extends from the bus totally across the oncoming lane of traffic. Any oncoming car that runs into the arm will incur lots of collision damage but the arm will fall away from the bus without harming it.
This legislative session House Bill 489 was introduced to require that schoolchildren be trained about the safety of boarding and disembarking from school buses. The legislative “crossover” deadline has arrived without consideration that bill so it’s dead for the biennium but the point has been made and legislators are once again thinking about school bus safety.
It didnt' stop there for Dale Folwell and his wife Synthia, who donated Dalton's organs and have made the awareness of organ donation a priority. Falwell famously set the record for miles travelled in the U.S. by motorcycle one October to raise awareness of organ donation with nearly 33,000 miles travelled.