Despite Kadyn's Law, bus stop violations still problematic - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Despite Kadyn's Law, bus stop violations still problematic

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HUDSON (KWWL) -

Despite a new, tougher law, it seems many drivers are still failing to stop for school buses. 

The law is named for seven-year-old Kadyn Halverson, who was struck and killed when a driver didn't stop for her Northwood school bus.  The law in her memory is supposed to enforce stricter penalties for bus stop violators.

But unfortunately, stop arm violations are still all too common, and drivers aren't facing the full penalties under Kadyn's Law.

Recently, a Hudson bus driver busted a car going around its stop arm just after children got off the bus.  In that case, the bus driver was able to quickly catch the car's license plate, and the driver was eventually ticketed for a Kadyn's Law violation, among other violations.  Hudson's superintendent says these violations are happening way too much and are putting kids at risk.

Just this school year alone, on Hudson's five bus routes -- drivers have reported at least nine violations of Kadyn's Law, when cars failed to stop for the bus.

"There's nothing more angering at least from my standpoint, and the bus driver's standpoint, than these people driving by a school bus with a stop arm out.  I mean, it's pretty obvious.  It's a big yellow school bus.  There are flashing lights, and there's a stop sign.  The law's pretty clear:  you have to stop," said Tony Voss, Hudson superintendent.

Sadly, many passing cars get away with it.  It's tough for bus drivers to jot down all the license digits, so police can catch offenders.  That's got superintendent Voss thinking seriously about adding cameras to buses in hopes of putting a stop to more stop arm violators. 

"It does make me consider--is that an option we want to put on our buses, a camera so we can grab those license plate tags as they go by," said Voss. 

174 drivers have been convicted on Kadyn's Law since it went into effect July 1st. 

What's alarming, few of them have faced the law's mandatory penalties, which are supposed to start with a minimum $250 fine.  But to date, one driver has been let off with just community service.  Others have paid as little as just the court costs of $60.  The highest fine assessed was $500 dollars. 

Hudson's superintendent says it's a shame.  He hopes the courts will do a better job following the law and that it doesn't take another child being killed while getting off the bus for drivers to pay attention, and slow down.

"Please, please stop when you see a school bus," Voss said.

The Iowa DOT says it is trying to do a better job educating the courts on Kadyn's Law, so judges will issue the correct penalties.

While fines under the new law have been lower than they should be, all but one of those convicted so far have been issued a 30-day license suspension notice. 

Kadyn's Law currently only impacts Iowa.  Some federal lawmakers have pushed to make it a national law, too.

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