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School bus passing violators not getting minimun fines

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A new report says Iowa courts are not all enforcing the updated minimum fines for illegally passing a stopped school bus.

Kadyn’s Law was passed March 16, 2012.  The law provides for stricter penalties for failing to obey school bus warning lamps and stop signal arms.

Six months after the law was enacted, more than half of the convictions for failing to stop for a school bus were assessed the wrong penalty according to the report.  

The report said the law requires a minimum fine of $250 for the first offense, but 65 percent (105 of 162) of the convictions between August 15 and October 31 were assessed a fine lower than that minimum $250. 

Twenty Iowa school districts confirmed they are using cameras on the bus stop-arms as part of their compliance with Kadyn’s Law.   So far, though, that system is proving inefficient and labor intensive.

Right now, the bus driver must note each violation and then the district must isolate images of the violator and provide them to local law enforcement.  Then law enforcement must verify the violator’s identity and deliver a citation to the alleged driver.

Researchers recommended making the stop-arm cameras system more like the red light cameras system, where the citations are issued to the vehicle owner and a vendor identifies potential violators.  Cities that have red light cameras in place commonly use a vendor to preview violation images and to forward potential violation images to the city for review and possible citations.   Those tickets are customarily issued to the vehicle owner based on the license plate on the car, and it is left to the vehicle owner to determine who was operating the vehicle at the time of the violation.