Increasing Penalty For Passing A Stopped School Bus
House members passed legislation on Thursday that would make passing a stopped school bus a higher-level misdemeanor with upward of 120 days jail time or community service. House Bill 1400, which is sponsored by Rep. Dale Folwell, R-Forsyth, would make passing a stopped bus and causing injury a Class 1 felony carrying up to 10 months in jail or four months community service. The bill also would remove a provision that requires that the words "School Bus" on the back of buses be at least 8 inches high. He said that in some cases, defense lawyers have been able to get charges against clients dismissed because letters on a bus were one-quarter inch shorter than the statute required.
Public records show that since 1997 at least 1,600 people per year have been reported for passing stopped school buses. Representative Folwell has experienced this tragedy. His seven-year-old son died six years ago while trying to board a school bus.