School Bus Passing LawsOctober 12, 2018
The school year is in full swing again, which means many of our commutes involve encounters with school buses shuttling children between home, school, or other activities. If you want to avoid losing your driving privileges, or even worse, harming a child, now is a good time to review the laws as they relate to passing school buses.
In 2012, Kadyn’s Law was signed after 7 year old Kadyn Halverson was killed crossing the road to board her school bus. Kadyn’s Law is codified under Iowa Code section 321.372. This Code section dictates use of warning lamps and the stop arm used by bus drivers. This Code section also specifies when drivers of other vehicles must stop, based on the type of roadway they are traveling. The Iowa Department of Transportation provides a helpful graphic to illustrate. It is important to note that the requirement to stop applies to private roads and driveways, as well as public roadways.
Under Code section 321.372(5)(b), the first conviction for violating school passing laws is a simple misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of fines from $250.00 to $675.00 and/or imprisonment up to 30 days. Subsequent convictions are serious misdemeanors and carry fines from $315.00 to $1,875.00 and/or imprisonment up to one year.
Along with criminal penalties, the Iowa DOT will impose administrative penalties. For a first offense, the DOT will suspend driving privileges for 30 days. A second offense comes with a 90 day suspension; subsequent suspensions carry a 180 day suspension. In my experience, it is these administrative penalties that cause the most disruption for people. Oftentimes, people pay the ticket as they would a simple speeding citation; it isn’t until they get the suspension letter from the DOT they realize this is more serious than a regular speeding ticket.
If you have received a citation for passing a school bus, you should contact an attorney as early as possible. Steps may be taken to lessen or avoid criminal or administrative penalties. Pay special attention to any court dates on your citation; failure to appear at a court hearing could result in a default judgment and/or warrant. If you pay the ticket, it will result in a conviction, at which point penalties can be imposed, so be sure to contact an attorney prior to submitting payment.
More information on Iowa school bus safety laws can be found here.
The content of this post is provided for informational purposes and is based on Iowa law, as well as the professional experiences of our attorneys. Different attorneys may have different experiences, and therefore different suggestions. Each case is different and to fully understand all the options in your unique situation, you should contact one of our attorneys.
Author: Dan Rothman
October 12, 2018
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