Bailey leads support for bill to increase fines for drivers who endanger school bus passengers
Newly elected state representative and former school board member Darren Bailey was as passionate as anyone in Springfield about guiding legislation through the House that will double fines for anyone caught driving around a stopped school bus in the process of picking up or dropping off school children.
“This is a public safety bill suggested by a constituent to help save lives and protect our children and grandchildren from people who ignore the stop signs and safety gates opened on school buses,” Bailey (R-Xenia) said in a press release. “These fines have not been increased for many years and just as all fines in law, these fines are intended to help stop people from putting children in danger.”
Under House Bill 1873, first offense fines will jump to $300 from $150 and second offense fines will rise to $1,000 from $500.
Despite Bailey’s pleas, some House members opposed the legislation, among them Democratic Rep. Joyce Mason (D-Gurnee) of the 61st District. But longtime Lake County school bus driver Bob Bednar stands behind any measure that would assure the roads are safe for his passengers.
“I think it’s a noble idea to always be looking for ways to improve safety,” he told Lake County Gazette. “I would like to see departments come up with individual rules for how they handle safety.”
Under current law, drivers in all directions are required to come to a stop before passing a school bus stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading children. Anyone convicted of being in violation of the law will automatically have their drivers’ license suspended for a period of three months.