Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) visited students at Northwood-Kensett Elementary School today to stump for national legislation strengthening penalties for drivers that illegally pass stopped school buses. Braley visited elementary schools in Waterloo and Dubuque yesterday to discuss the bill.
The bipartisan bill, "Kadyn's Act," was introduced by Braley in March and is modeled after Iowa's new "Kadyn's Law." The bill and the Iowa law, signed by Governor Terry Branstad in March, are named after Kadyn Halverson, 7, who was struck and killed by a pickup truck as she crossed the street to board her school bus near Northwood, Iowa, last May. Kadyn's Law was championed in Iowa by Kadyn's mother, Kari Halverson, her family, and Kim Koenigs, a local advocate, who both joined Braley at the event.
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."
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 Act written by Braley 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.
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.
Iowa US Reps. Tom Latham (IA-04) and Leonard Boswell (IA-03) are cosponsors of Kadyn's Act.