MONROEVILLE, Pa. — State Sen. Sean Logan announced plans earlier this week to introduce legislation aiming to ensure that no children are left behind on school buses.
The legislation would mandate that the State Board of Education implement regulations outlining a procedure that all school bus drivers must follow to check their buses.
“We have seen way too many incidents of children being left behind on a school bus,” Logan said. “It is time to institute harsh penalties for those drivers who fail to check the bus for a child. One cannot possibly imagine how scared that child is when he or she misses their stop and does not see any adult or recognize their surroundings.”
A driver who leaves a child behind would face a summary offense. The first offense would be punishable by a fine of up to $300 and a loss of school bus endorsement operating privileges for 30 days. A second offense would result in a fine between $300 and $1,000, and loss of school bus endorsement operating privileges for 60 days. A third offense would result in a fine between $1,000 and $1,500, and revocation of school bus endorsement operating privileges.
The bill would also toughen penalties against those who drive a school bus under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Penalties for a first offense would be no less than 30 days in jail and a fine of between $5,000 and $10,000. The penalties would escalate until a fourth and subsequent offenses, which would result in no less than five years in jail and a fine between $15,000 and $25,000. The driver would also face the loss of vehicle operating privileges for two years.
“The continued safety of our children is of the utmost importance and the ultimate goal of this legislation,” Logan said. “We need to have the peace of mind that the drivers responsible for taking our children to school are trustworthy individuals, and this bill will undoubtedly send a strong message to wayward bus drivers.”