GENEVA – Senator Pam Helming today announced the passage of a package of bills she supported to improve school bus safety by educating motorists about the need to be aware of their actions while driving around school buses. These three bills passed the Senate with wide bipartisan support, and they will help protect our children and keep them safe as they travel to and from school.
“Our children are a precious part of our community, and it is important that we as a government and a society do all we can to protect them and care for them. No parent should ever have to worry that their child may be in danger on their way to and from school each day. Our school bus drivers are true professionals who do an outstanding job of transporting our children and keeping them safe on buses traveling around our region and across our state. However, motorists must be cognizant of the extra precautions they need to take when they drive near school buses. These bills will educate our citizens about the importance of school bus safety and increase penalties for those who choose to be reckless. Thank you to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this important legislation,” Senator Helming said.
S.3558-A increases the fine amounts associated with passing a stopped school bus when its red lights are illuminated. It raises first conviction fines to not less than $350 and no more than $500. For a conviction of a second violation, both of which were committed within a period of three years, the fine increases to not less than $500 and no more than $850. For conviction of a third or subsequent violation, all of which were committed within a period of three years, a person will be fined not less than $800 and no more than $1,000.
S.4385 directs the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, in conjunction with the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, the Departments of Education and Transportation, the State Police, and the State Comprehensive School Bus Driver Safety Training Council, to design and implement a public education program to educate motorists on the dangers of passing a school bus and to promote school bus safety.
S.2960 provides for a school bus safety component in the pre-licensing driver’s education course.