Ohio, Utah Legislation Target Motorists Who Illegally Pass School Buses

Image courtesy of Safe Fleet.

Legislation in both states that seeks to stiffen the penalties for motorists who pass stopped school buses has moved closer to becoming law.

Ohio would become the 22nd state to authorize school districts to install video cameras that capture illegal passing incidents.

Currently, Ohio leaves the decision to install stop-arm cameras up to local school districts. If passed, SB134 would also permit any clear images captured by a school bus video camera to be used by police as evidence of a violation.

First introduced last April, the bill (named the School Bus Safety Act) unanimously passed the Ohio Senate on Feb. 5 and currently sits in the House.

It would also provide grants to school districts for purchasing and installing the video cameras. In addition, it would increase the fines and penalties if a child is struck by an illegally passing vehicle.

Motorists that hit a child during a violation would face a new felony charge of vehicle harm. A new law would also classify an illegal passing violation that results in death as a second-degree felony, punishable by up to eight years in prison.


Related: Ohio School Bus Safety Act Would Allow Stop-Arm Video Cameras
Related: New Indiana and Kentucky Legislation Fights Illegal School Bus Passing
Related: Utah School Bus Seat Belt Bill Fails Again in House
Related: Wisconsin Community Mourns 6-Year-Old Girl Killed by School Bus Illegal Passer
Related: Watch: Ohio School Bus Rollover Video Reignites Latest Seatbelt Debate


In Utah, HB84 passed the Senate on Wednesday after being reported favorably out of the Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee last week.

Sponsored by Rep. Craig Hall and Sen. Todd Weiler, it would amend provisions in the state traffic code to increase the minimum fines and penalties that are associated with passing a stopped school bus when the lights are flashing.

For a first offense, the fine would increase from $100 to $250 and 10 hours of community service. A second offense that occurs within three years of a previous conviction would result in a fine of $500, increased from the current $200 level, and 20 hours of community service.

For a third offense, the fine would double to $1,000 and include 40 hours of service.