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School bus safety bill passes

House Bill 84 will increase the fines for anyone who unlawfully passes a school bus. (Photo: KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Pretty soon it’s going to be more expensive to drive recklessly around a school bus.

House Bill 84 passed through easily with 64 in favor and only 10 against.

Raising the price

The bill would raise the penalty for passing a school bus displaying flashing lights.

Specifically, the fine would be jacked up from $100 to $250.

The bill is being sponsored by Representative Craig Hall, R-West Valley City.

“This is a huge problem in our state,” says Representative Hall. “There are tens-of-thousands of kids who travel by bus every single day.”

During debate, he continued to cite a recent local study that countified how often the law is being violated.

“On that one single day, this law was violated more than 900 times,” explains Hall.

Dating back to last fall, the Jordan School District and the Utah Association Of Pupil Transportation have been working together to raise awareness.

Meanwhile, others in the House don’t believe that stronger fines are enough of a deterrent.

Representative Scott Chew, R-Jensen, believes people are more likely to obey when their time is threatened.

Because of that, he’s proposing to add an amendment that would include community service as a penalty.

“I do not believe there is a single reason that a person needs to pass a school bus,” says Representative Chew.

He’s suggesting the addition of 10 hours of community service on a first offense and 20 hours on a second.

School bus safety

According to bus drivers, it’s not very difficult to obey the laws.

Flashing yellow lights mean a bus stop is coming soon. When you see flashing red lights accompanied by the extended bus stop arm, that signifies that children are being either loaded or unloaded.

When the lights are flashing red, a driver absolutely must stop by law.

“It’s my belief that every child’s life is worth more than two minutes of any driver’s time,” says school bus driver Shaun Dustin.