Ohio representative wants to toughen penalties against drivers who disobey school bus traffic laws

Ohio representative wants to toughen penalties against drivers who disobey school bus traffic laws

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 News is digging deeper into a bill that would hold drivers accountable for passing a school bus.

Republication Representative Niraj Antani (D-42) sponsored House Bill 89.

It’s a bill that would stiffen penalties for drivers who illegally pass school buses, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

On Monday, police in Willowick said two students were getting off the bus when an 18-year-old woman hit them and then took off.

The driver, Dalia Wilson, eventually turned herself into police. She was charged with four misdemeanors; not stopping after an accident, passing a stopped school bus, driving left of center, and reckless operation.

“That’s frankly tragic and shows, hopefully, those kids are fine, but we want to make sure something more tragic does not happen," Representative Antani said.

In the proposed bill: drivers like Wilson who, if convicted of illegally passing a school bus, would have to pay a $1,000 fine.

“It shouldn’t be the same as a traffic ticket if you are going to not stop for the school bus and endanger kids," explained Representative Antani.

The bill would also increase penalties for license suspensions. Drivers would get slapped with a class six suspension, meaning you could lose your license for anywhere from a mandatory three months to two years.

“Just as you stop for a red light, even if there are no cars coming, you stop for a red light. The same should go for school buses," Representative Antani said.

The bill also includes funding for cameras on school buses that would be available next year.

“Schools have limited resources and unfortunately there are thousands of school buses and school bus stops in Ohio. It’s not feasible for police to police every bus stop," said Representative Antani.

He’s hopeful the bill will pass and is looking to strengthen it with even more penalties for drivers who ignore the law.

Right now, the bill is waiting for its first hearing in the house criminal justice committee.

We’ll let you know what happens.

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