HomeNewsIowa Bill Targeting Illegal School Bus Passers to Include Camera Study

Iowa Bill Targeting Illegal School Bus Passers to Include Camera Study

The so-called Kadyn’s Law legislation introduced recently calls on the Iowa Department of Education to partner with the Department of Public Safety and Department of Transportation to study the effectiveness of stop arm cameras.

Senate File 2021, the official number of Kadyn’s Law, which was created in response to the death of a 7-year-old girl on her way to her school bus last May, includes a first-offense fine of at least $250 and no more than $675 for motorists convicted of passing a school bus in the loading or unloading zone. Current state law requires motorists encountering a stopped school bus with its amber warning lights flashing to reduce speed to no more than 20 mph. When the stop arm extends from the bus, motorists must then come to a complete stop until the stop arm is retracted.

In the case of Kadyn Halvorson last May 10, the driver of a 2002 Chevy Silverado pick-up truck not only failed to stop but struck the girl and dragged her some 200 feet before her body was thrown free and face down into a ditch. Halvorson had just left her babysitter’s house and was walking toward her school bus.

State Director Max Christensen, who is also the president-elect of NASDPTS, said the study on stop arm cameras is due by the end of this year. The study also calls for a feasibility analysis of requiring school children to be picked up and dropped off on the side of the road that their home is located to reduce the chances of crossing fatalities.

Earlier this month, Christensen surveyed other state directors nationwide to determine their own requirements or laws on same-side stops. Of 32 states responding, he said only Connecticut indicated it requires same-side stops, but a waiver is available in certain circumstances.

Christensen explained that current Iowa regulations only require same-side stops on streets or roads consisting of at least two lanes going in the same direction. Some school districts in Iowa, especially rural ones, may resist a requirement for same-side pick ups and drop offs because it could be impractical, if not downright expensive, because of routing and excess mileage required of the buses.

Additionally, the state is considering a pilot project to place additional lighting and reflective tape on the back of school buses to increase visibility and safety.

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