The Iowa departments of Transportation, Education and Public Safety are joining the National Association for Pupil Transportation in promoting National School Bus Safety Week Oct. 22-26, 2012. Motorists can expect heightened traffic enforcement directed toward persons who illegally pass stop school buses during this period.
The theme for this year’s educational campaign is “I See the Driver. The Driver Sees Me!” It is derived from the national school bus safety poster contest held in 2011.
The purpose of the annual safety week is to educate students, parents/caregivers, bus drivers, educators and motorists about the importance of school bus safety and measures they can take to decrease injuries and fatalities.
Each year, more than 800 students nationally are killed going to and from school. In Iowa, there were 207 school bus-related crashes in 2011, including three fatalities and seven major injuries. Through July 31 of this year, there have been 86 school bus-related crashes.
To learn more about school bus safety, what motorists must do when a school bus is stopped, how students can safely board or unload from a school bus, and the penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus, go to www.iowadot.gov/schoolbus.
In March 2012, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed into law Senate File 2218, the Keep Aware Driving – Youth Need School Safety Act, commonly known as Kadyn’s Law. The law is named after Kadyn Halverson, age 7, who was struck by a pickup truck while trying to cross the road to board her school bus.
Kadyn’s Law increased the criminal penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus and directed the Iowa DOT to adopt rules that increase the administrative driving privilege sanctions. Under these rules, a person’s driving privilege will be suspended 30 days for a first conviction, 90 days for a second, and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction.