A Florida lawmaker has proposed a new bill that would step up the severity of charges for passing a stopped school bus with its stop arm out.
The proposed bill, called Gabby’s Law for School Bus Stop Safety, is named after 12-year-old Gabby Mair, who was hit by a car after getting off the school bus in DeBary in 2010, and was pronounced brain dead the following day, Health News Florida reports. The bill was submitted by Sen. David Simmons.
In Florida, failing to stop for a stopped school bus is a moving violation. Under SB 346, the fine would increase from $100 to $250. For a second offense within five years, driver’s license suspension would increase to a minimum of six months and a maximum of one year, up from the current 90 days to six months
Also under the bill, passing a stopped school bus on the side that children enter and exit would be upgraded to reckless driving, which is punishable with 90 days in prison or a fine of up to $500, or both. A second conviction would be punishable with six months in prison or a fine of up to $1,000, or both.
Additional charges would be added to the stop-arm violation fines for the Emergency Medical Services Trust Fund to help support trauma centers.
As previously reported, Gabby’s parents, Don and Kimberly Mair, have worked with the Volusia County Schools Board to make bus stops more visible, and set up a website to promote their campaign. They have also started a nonprofit organization, Gabby’s Law Inc., that works to make school bus stops safer.
The bill, if approved, would take effect on Oct. 1, 2015.