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Laws toughen for passing a school bus illegally

AMES, Iowa – Aug. 14, 2012 – Today, the Iowa Transportation Commission approved and the director of the Iowa Department of Transportation subsequently adopted an emergency administrative rule that increases the administrative driving privilege sanctions for illegally passing a stopped school bus. The rule takes effect Wednesday, Aug. 15, allowing it to be in effect at the start of the 2012-13 school year.

Earlier this year, Governor Branstad signed into law Senate File 2218, the Keep Aware Driving – Youth Need School Safety Act (commonly known as Kadyn’s Law), that increased the criminal penalties for passing a stopped school bus and directed the Iowa DOT to enact rules that make illegally passing a stopped school bus a serious moving violation that triggers increasing periods of suspension for first, second and subsequent offenses. The new rule provides that a person’s Iowa driving privilege will be suspended 30 days for a first conviction, 90 days for a second conviction, and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction.

Passed unanimously in the Iowa House and Senate, the law is aimed at preventing other tragic deaths and serious injuries to Iowa’s school children while boarding or unloading from a school bus. On May 10, 2011, Kadyn Halverson, age 7, of Northwood, was struck by a pickup while trying to cross the road to board a school bus.

According to the recently released Second Annual School Bus Illegal Passing Driver Survey sponsored by the National Association of State Directors of Public Transportation, there has been a marked increase in the number of motorists who blow past the school bus arm and flashing red lights. The number of vehicles illegally passing a school bus during a one-day count conducted earlier this year was 43.7 percent, as compared to 38.2 percent in 2011.

Knowledge is power. Iowans need to be aware of the consequences of passing a stopped school bus. Kadyn’s law increased the criminal penalties and administrative sanctions for those convicted of such violations, which are now as follows.

*Although not affected by Kadyn’s Law, it is important to remember that offenses that cause unintentional serious injury or death to another person and that are charged as operating while intoxicated (OWI), reckless driving, eluding or attempting to elude a law enforcement vehicle, or drag racing may be charged as homicide or serious injury by vehicle, which are class “B” (OWI causing death), “C” (reckless driving or eluding causing death) or “D” (OWI, reckless driving, or eluding causing serious injury; drag racing causing death) felonies. These felonies carry significant higher penalties and sanctions, including fines of up to $10,000, mandatory restitution of $150,000, mandatory imprisonment of 25 years, and mandatory suspension of driving privileges for six years for a class “B” felony conviction.

** The Iowa DOT also has authority under Iowa Code 321.210 and 761 Iowa Administrative Code to suspend the driving privilege of a person convicted for a moving violation that contributed to a fatal motor vehicle accident for at least 120 days. Typical suspensions under this authority are for a period of one year.

Although misdemeanor convictions do not pose the same penalties as felony convictions, they often have other effects on a person’s life. Employers often run background checks, and when they do, a misdemeanor is a criminal offense that will appear on the report. A misdemeanor can also cause problems with obtaining security clearances.

Kim Snook, director of the Iowa DOT’s Office of Driver Services, said, “We hope that these increased penalties and sanctions will make driver’s think twice before foolishly choosing to pass a stopped school bus. More than thinking about their own penalty, however, we hope they will remember and recognize that passing a stopped school bus threatens the life of a child.  The few seconds gained is not worth risking a child’s life.”

The Iowa departments of Transportation, Public Safety and Education, and University of Iowa-National Advanced Driving Simulator and Iowa State University-Center for Transportation Research and Education have teamed up to provide additional public education on school bus safety this year, as well as to complete a study on school bus safety due to the legislature in December. More information about the educational effort will be announced in the coming weeks.

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they need to take away a persons drivers ID if they pass a school bus and the fines should be harsher. then they will lean not to

People who intentionally pass school buses with red signs, flashing lights, and extended poles are not real good at “leaning”

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