Kaydn’s Law on track to make Iowa school children safer

During the 2012 session, the Iowa Legislature passed Kaydn’s Law in response to the death of Kaydn Halverson of Kensett. She was killed by a driver illegally passing a school bus. In addition to tougher fines and jail time, the Iowa DOT is seeking automatic license suspension and university experts are reviewing additional steps to improve school bus safety. This spring, moments after the Senate unanimously approved Kaydn’s Law, family and friends of Kaydn Halverson gathered in the Senate gallery. The group includes Kari Halverson, Kaydn’s mother, and Senators Mary Jo Wilhelm of Cresco, Amanda Ragan of Mason City, and Tod Bowman of Maquoketa.

In response to this spring’s passage of Kaydn’s Law, Iowa officials and state universities are taking steps to make school bus trips safer for all Iowa children. 

“A new Iowa DOT rule will make illegally passing a school bus a serious violation that will automatically result in a license suspension,” reports State Senator Mary Jo Wilhelm of Cresco.  “This is in addition to increased fines of up to $1,875 and 30 days in jail for drivers who pass a bus when the red warning lights are flashing.  More fines, additional jail time and even loss of driving privileges could be added on if someone is injured.”

Kaydn’s law, Senate File 2218, was passed this spring by the Iowa Legislature in response to grassroots efforts led by the family and friends of Kaydn Halverson of Kensett, who was killed by a driver illegally passing a stopped school bus.   The proposed rule is expected to be approved by this September.  In addition, the law requires the state to study additional steps that could improve school bus safety. 

“Experts at Iowa State University and the University of Iowa will review if  cameras mounted on schools buses might help protect children from reckless drivers,” Wilhelm said.  “They will also consider highlighting school bus safety in our driver’s education classes and other measures to increase the safety of school bus passengers.”

The study will be conducted by the Center for Transportation Research and Education at Iowa State University and the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) at the University of Iowa.  The findings must be reported to the Legislature by December 31, 2012. 

“I want to thank Kaydn’s family and friends for helping make all Iowa school children safer through their work for Kaydn’s Law,” Wilhelm said.  “Their efforts have made an important difference.  When the school bus safety study is complete, I will review it for additional steps the Legislature can take during the 2013 session to make sure every Iowa school child can travel to and from school safely.”

Link to the proposed rule:  http://www.legis.iowa.gov/DOCS/ACO/IAC/LINC/ARC.0158C.pdf

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Posted Jul. 26th, 2012 at 7:59 am by