Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission
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Keep Our Kids Safe

Keep our kids safe – do not pass a stopped school bus

AMES, Iowa – April 11, 2012 –  Recently, several motor vehicle crashes with school buses have prompted the Iowa Department of Transportation to remind motorists of when it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus on any public or private roadway or driveway.

The bill known as “Kadyn’s Law,” in memory of Kadyn Halverson, went into effect with the governor’s signature March 16. The 7-year-old first grader from Kensett was killed last May by a driver who had illegally passed a stopped school bus.

The new provisions increase the penalties for drivers who fail to abide by the law (Iowa Code 321.372) on stopped school buses. Previously, a motorist who passed a bus when the red warning lights were flashing was fined $200. The new Iowa law increased the penalty to at least $250 and as high as $675 for a first offense and up to 30 days in jail. For subsequent violations, a driver could face fines of up to $1,875. A driver who violates the law and causes an injury could face added fines, jail time and license suspension.

In addition to the situations described below, drivers should never pass on the right. Violations of Iowa’s motor vehicle laws should be reported to local law enforcement.

Scenario 1 – You are traveling on a two-lane or three-lane

  • Nearing the bus from the rear; drivers must always stop when either the amber lights or red lights are flashing.  Stop no closer than 15 feet from t he bus.
  • Meeting the bus from the front; drivers must slow their vehicles to 20 mph when amber lights are flashing.  Stop when the lights change to red and the stop arm comes out.  Remain stopped until the lights stop flashing and the stop arm is withdrawn. 

Scenario 2 – You are traveling on a road with two or more lanes in each direction

  • Stop if nearing the bus from the rear when amber or red lights are flashing.  Stop no closer than 15 feet from the bus.   
  • When meeting the bus in one of the opposite two lanes (or more), you do not need to stop even if the bus has stopped with lights flashing and stop arm out.  he bus is not permitted to load or unload children who must cross this type of roadway unless there are official traffic control devices or police officers present.    


Contact: David Stutz, 515-237-3230 or david.stutz@dot.iowa.gov

Below are illustrations of vehicle movements related to a stopped school bus on a variety of roadway configurations.