Iowa school bus regulations have tougher penalties after girl killed
By Tia Heidebrecht, Chief Photographer - bio | email
Drivers who don't follow the new law regarding a stopped school bus, face jail times and big fines.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Iowa schools and Law Enforcement are raising awareness and educating drivers about the new School Bus Stop Arm Regulations.
"With our stop arms and our flashing lights and as large as they are, you would think that people could see them," Max Christensen, the Executive Officer for School Transportation for the Iowa Department of Education said.
But drivers don't and last year, it ended in tragedy.
"On May 10th of 2011, seven year old Kaydn Halverson of Northwood Iowa was on her way to the school bus and as she was crossing the road to get to the school bus a pickup came from the opposite direction and hit her," Christensen said.
Kaydn was killed from this violation and now family members have gotten legislation, "Kaydn's Law", passed that has changed the school bus stop arm regulations.
"The increased fines which have now gone from $330 to $675 for the first offense. Plus it's now a serious violation so that's a court appearance required citation," John Farley, a Trooper with the Iowa State Patrol said.
Troopers are hoping that with these stricter fines will send a stronger message.
"Every trooper in the state of Iowa takes this very seriously and the amount of violations we are seeing. Through a survey that was done last year, we see that there are over 240 incidences where vehicles are passing school buses every day," Farley said.
And with these incidents, officials want drivers to remember the buses are carrying precious cargo.
"We are trying to do is protect our kids and a child who's walking and there's a car, pickup truck whatever, coming, they have no chance and we are just trying to give our kids a chance to live and grow and prosper," Christensen said.
Part of "Kaydn's Law" requires the Iowa Departments of Transportation, Education and Public Safety, to conduct a study across the state of Iowa.
They will report their findings to the Iowa Legislature by the end of the year.
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