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April 01, 2010  |   Comments (2)   |   Post a comment

School bus passing bill fails


HATTIESBURG, Miss. — A bill that would have increased penalties for stop-arm running died in the state Legislature on Saturday, but supporters said they will keep pushing for the change.

The legislation was dubbed “Nathan’s Law,” for a 5-year-old who was killed by a passing motorist after getting off his bus in December.

As it was introduced, Nathan’s Law would have hit first-time offenders with raised fines of $500 to $5,000, and their driver’s license would have been suspended for 30 days. For any subsequent offense, the bill would have increased penalties to $800 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both, and license suspension for 90 days.

Among other provisions of the bill, a stop-arm violation resulting in the death or injury of a child would have been a newly defined felony, and the offender could have been sentenced up to five years in prison and fined up to $5,000.

However, supporters of the legislation accused a House committee chair of weakening it, and a final version could not be agreed upon.

Nathan’s parents, Lori and Andy Key, and Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant were among supporters who said the push to pass Nathan’s Law would continue.

"We're not gonna stop fighting for the children of Mississippi," Lori Key told reporters. "They all deserve the respect of drivers, and they depend on us to make sure they're safe."


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We had a transportation director who gave permission over our school system radios for a contractor to continue using their bus when a stop arm light and the over head front and rear red lights were not working properly. Since this happened back in Dec on the 11th, 2008, on a dark morning, the approaching motorist would have had a difficult time seeing this was a school bus in the dark. School board and administration did little of nothing about it. This was not the first or last bad decision by this director. The school board's attorney and the school's attorney eventually reviewed the issues. Matters are handled internally sometime. Yes, things did improve even though there were several board members and administrators not very happy at all that the director was submiitted in a write up to the school board for safety violations in print in, Federal, State, and local statutes of written law codes. Bottom line as a school bus trainer appointed by the past school boards, I always stand squarely on the side of safety for the students. I trained this transportation director. No where in his training procedures did I instruct that it was fine to give permission for someone else to operate an unsafe school bus on the roadways while loading and unloading students. As was mentioned the issues ended up with attorney reviews. No only were the students put at risk, the school's liability in a Court room was also put in harm. Yes, malfeasance, misfeasance, and non-feasance came into play since at the beginning, school board members and administrators tried to cover over the Dec. 11, 2008 issue, yet they could not since there were hundreds of witnesses when it was broadcasted over the school system radio system. What does this issue have to do with Laws not being passed? Well, when a director, and a school bus driver, who both have licenses and certifications, and had demonstarted the basic knowledge reqired to obtain those such licenses and certifications through the St

Dan Luttrell    |    Apr 23, 2010 05:51 AM

There has to be a law that is going to make drivers sit up and take notice of the value of life. Passing a stopped school bus is a violation that MUST be treated with a fine that fits the crime! BUT, I also believe there needs to be more instruction for bus drivers in the safe crossing of students at a bus stop. There is a hand signal children can learn and a signal of the horn for a safety warning. Since my arrival in SC, I have not seen or heard either at a bus stop. I have also heard confusion in the discussion of who can pass a stopped school bus. WHO? NOBODY!!! Regardless, let's make the fine be realistic, one that will bring to an end the passing of the stopped school bus! No matter what state it is in. I think it is a problem generally all over the south.

Vi Johnston    |    Apr 20, 2010 06:57 PM

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