State Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) is announcing a bill that would implement policies to increase school bus safety in Indiana. The legislation that Head filed would create more severe consequences for drivers who recklessly pass school buses.
The bill would also require any school bus driver driving on a U.S. or state route to unload students as close to the right-hand curb as possible. Bus drivers would not be allowed to board or release students anywhere that requires them to cross a roadway unless no other option is available.
Under Head’s proposed legislation, the penalty from a Class A infraction would increase to a Class C misdemeanor for any driver who fails to stop when a school bus arm is extended. Penalties for a driver who recklessly passes a school bus when its arm is extended and causes injury would also become harsher, changing from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony.
The bill would also require the court to suspend driving privileges for first-time offenders for 90 days and one year for repeat offenders and each school that provides student transportation would have to review their school bus routes and safety procedures annually.
“Our community has suffered great tragedy recently, as four children lost their lives in accidents involving school buses,” Head said. “No family should ever have to experience a loss of this kind, and I am hopeful this legislation, if passed, would help prevent similar accidents from occurring by encouraging drivers to slow down, follow the rules of the road and keep the safety of our children in mind.”
Head’s legislation will now be assigned to a Senate committee.