New Iowa law increases penalty for illegally passing a school bus

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Drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus could face stricter penalties after the state Transportation Commission passed an emergency rule effective Wednesday, August 15.

Nationally, there is a rise in the number of motorists who reportedly illegally pass school buses stopped to pick up or drop of students.  More than 43 percent of vehicles illegally passed a stopped school bus in the first half of 2012 compared to 38 percent in 2011.

Kadyn’s Law passed earlier in 2012, increasing criminal penalties for passing a stopped school bus in Iowa.  The law was named for seven-year-old Kadyn Halverson of Northwood, Iowa who was struck by a pickup while trying to cross the road to board a school bus May 10, 2011. 

When he signed the bill into law, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad directed the Iowa Department of Transportation to adopt rules making illegally passing a stopped school bus a serious moving violation.  The offense is considered a misdemeanor. 

The new rule means being convicted a first time for illegally passing a stopped school bus is punishable by a 30-day suspension of driving privileges.  The offense also carries fines between $250 and $675 and up to 30 days in jail. 

The penalty for a second conviction is a 90-day suspension, fines between $315 and $1,875 and up to one year in prison.  A third or subsequent conviction carries the same potential fines and potential prison sentence plus a 180-day suspension of driving privileges.

Illinois has new laws restricting cell phone use, not just texting, in school zones.  Read that story – click here.