Don’t cross the school bus

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
When the bus stops, so should you. Not only could you be putting a child at risk by not stopping, but fines and penalties are steep.

In March 2012, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed into law Senate File 2218, the "Keep Aware Driving — Youth Need School Safety Act," commonly known as Kadyn's Law (see School Bus Safety Study - Kadyn's Law Final Report, Dec. 2012).

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.

It was 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.

The Act 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.

On Aug. 14, 2012, the Iowa Department of Transportation adopted an emergency administrative rule that increases the administrative driving privilege sanctions for illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Effective Aug. 15, 2012, the 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.

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 Department 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.

Kadyn's Law also increased the criminal penalties and administrative sanctions for those convicted of such violations.
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