Penalty increase for passing a school bus clears first legislative hurdle

(KCPW News) A measure to increase the penalties for passing a school bus when its lights are flashing has cleared its first hurdle at the state legislature.

Right now the fine for passing a school bus when it’s stopped to pick up passengers is $100 for first time violators. That would increase to $250 under the proposal by West Valley City Republican Rep. Craig Hall. Fines for second time offenders would increase from $200 to $500.

Hall says his bill is meant as a way to remind drivers that passing a school bus when it is stopped puts school children at risk.

“There are tens of thousands of children who travel by bus every day in our state and by far the most dangerous part of the transportation process is getting on and off the school bus,” he said.

A study conducted last year by school transportation officials recorded more than 900 instances of drivers illegally passing school busses in Utah, on just one day.

Representative Hall’s House Bill 84 received a unanimous endorsement on Thursday from members of the House Transportation Committee. It next heads to the full Utah House.