Less than one week after Governor Terry Branstad signed "Kadyn's Law" to strengthen penalties in Iowa for drivers that pass stopped school buses, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced a bill that would seek to apply Iowa's new tough penalties under "Kadyn's Law" to the entire country.
Kadyn's Law was championed in Iowa by Kadyn's mother, Kari Halverson, her family, and Kim Koenigs, a local advocate.
The federal Kadyn's Law would require states to strengthen their penalties for drivers who pass stopped school buses to the new Iowa standard at a minimum -- or face losing 10 percent of federal highway funding each year.
Braley said, "When reckless drivers ignore warnings and pass stopped school buses, children's lives are put in danger. Toughening penalties for drivers who violate school bus safety laws will save lives and convince more people to drive responsibly around kids and schools. It's a common sense change that rises above petty partisan politics.
Braley continued, "Thanks to Kadyn, Iowa has become a national leader in school bus safety. It's time every state adopt these strict standards so the penalty matches the severity of this crime."
Kari Halverson said, "The fact that Kadyn's Law is being introduced at a federal level today is beyond amazing to us. As a mother who has lost a child by someone illegally passing by a stopped school bus, I can only hope and pray our leaders at the national level will embrace this act for our children all over the country. I applaud Congressman Bruce Braley for stepping up and taking on an issue that is extremely near and dear to my heart as well as others who have lost children in this way."
Iowa's Kadyn's Law mandates for first offenders fines of at least $250 and the possibility of jail time of up to 30 days. For a second offense of passing a stopped school bus within 5 years, fines would range from between $315 and $1,875 with up to one year of jail time.
The federal Kadyn's Law would threaten to cut 10 percent of a state's federal highway funds each year until that state adopts at least these standards.
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services estimates that cars illegally pass stopped school buses 13 million times per year. An average of 16 children per year are killed by drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.