The Indiana House voted to unanimously pass a school bus bill that would increase safety on and around the school bus. The bill was authored by State Sen. Randy Head.
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Details of SB2 show that it would increase the penalties for drivers who violate school bus stop laws. A violation resulting in bodily injury would be strengthened to a Level-6 felony, from a misdemeanor. A Level-5 felony would result from a violation that caused death.
The bill approved on Tuesday would also require school districts to minimize bus stops that make children cross highways in high-speed areas and it would increase the public awareness regarding Indiana’s school bus laws.
In addition, the bill would require each school corporation, charter or accredited nonpublic school to review school bus routes and safety policies annually.
The bill was introduced after the death of three Indiana children who were killed after a driver illegally passed a school bus that was stopped with the stop arm extended and the lights flashing.
Another student was also killed this school year in Indiana, after his school bus was rear-ended at a railroad crossing by a straight truck towing a trailer. A second large school bus crash in Indiana earlier this year injured more than half a dozen people. In that incident, Indiana State Police cited sun glare and speed as factors that caused the school bus driver to crash into the back of a trash truck.
SB2 is now returning to the Indiana Senate for further consideration.
Editor’s note — SB2 passed both the House and Senate in April and was signed into law by Gov. on May 1. It went into effect on July 1.