LINN COUNTY, Iowa — Data show the rate of school bus stop-arm violations being pleaded down or dismissed has more than doubled in the state since a law was adopted to increase the consequences for passing a school bus illegally, The Gazette reports.
Kadyn’s Law was created in 2011 after a motorist fatally struck 7-year-old Kadyn Halverson while she was walking to her bus. Violators of the law receive a fine, an additional insurance requirement and a mandatory suspended license, according to the newspaper. The law went into effect in March 2012.
The Gazette conducted an analysis of data from the Iowa Judicial Branch and found that of the 2,660 stop-arm citations issued from August 2012 to March 2015, 26% were dismissed and 12% were convicted of a lesser charge. Before Kadyn’s Law, only 18% of violations were dismissed or pleaded down, Mark Lowe, director of the motor vehicle division at the Iowa Department of Transportation, told the newspaper. The Gazette also noted that Linn County was found to be pleading down or dismissing violations at one of the highest rates in the state.
Linn County attorneys told the newspaper that the law is “unusual” in that it gives bus drivers some law enforcement or police power, with drivers often having to document the description of the violating vehicle, the driver and a license plate number, in a few seconds, which can lead to inaccurate reports, and most school buses in the Linn County school districts don't have stop-arm cameras to provide key evidence.
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