Mississippi legislators and the governor passed Nathan's Law, which increases penalties for driving by a stopped school bus. Pictured is the State Capitol.
Photo by Chuck Kelly
JACKSON, Miss. — A bill that increases penalties for passing a stopped school bus, among other changes, was signed into law on Monday by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.
The legislation was named for Nathan Key, a 5-year-old who was killed in December 2009 when a vehicle illegally passed his school bus as he was unloading.
“I appreciate the dedication and passion of Nathan’s parents, who were so instrumental in seeing this legislation through," Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant said. "This has been a long hard fight but was worth every effort to provide a safer environment for our children.”
Under the new law, fines for stop-arm running will range from $350 to $750 for a first offense and $750 to $1,500 for a second or subsequent offense, which will also result in a driver's license suspension of 90 days.
Nathan's Law makes several other changes related to school bus safety, including clarifying the offense of passing a stopped school bus and authorizing cameras on stop arms. It also requires that every driver's license examination ensures "adequate knowledge on the part of the applicant as to school bus safety requirements," according to the text of the legislation.
A similar bill died in the 2010 legislative session. The new bill was introduced in January.
For more information on Nathan's Law, which goes into effect July 1, go here.