Indiana drivers who recklessly pass school buses when the stop arm is out will face increased penalties under legislation headed to the governor.
The bill also gives schools a way to pay for cameras on school buses.
An accident last year in Rochester, Indiana, that killed three children prompted the legislation. Drivers who illegally pass a bus and injure or kill someone will now be committing a felony, instead of a misdemeanor.
The final version of the measure changed after concerns about how schools would pay to install cameras on the bus stop arms, to help catch drivers who illegally pass the buses. The bill previously allowed schools to pay private camera companies using money from the fines those drivers would pay.
Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) says that provision was eliminated.
“Rather than having third-party agreements and rerouting funds from fines and civil penalties, we simply allow school boards to approach the county council to ask for reimbursement for the cost of stop arm cameras,” Manning says.
Manning says local governments can agree to pay for some, all or none of the cameras’ costs.