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Summary: HB 1174 would increase the range of a fine for illegally passing a school bus from $200-$1000 to $500-$1,250. Additionally, this bill would raise the fine for multiple aforementioned offenses within five years to $1,000-$2,000.
Analysis: We agree that drivers should proceed with caution when a school bus unloads children. Current law already assesses a steep fine for illegally passing a school bus. Increasing the fine will make it harder to pay the penalty, particularly in economically challenging times when people are struggling. In our view the current penalty structure is a sufficient deterrence and we have seen no data to indicate that increasing the penalty will act as a significant deterrence to first time offenders.
However, we also recognize that the state has a responsibility to ensure the safety of children traveling on school buses on public roads. To the extent that increasing the fees may have a positive impact on the safety of children loading on and off of school buses, we are neutral on this legislation.