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School Bus Safety Legislation Headed to Governor’s Desk

May 2nd, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Legislation inspired by the untimely death of a Fort Meyers high schooler is on its way to the governors desk.
The legislation would impose higher mandatory penalties for drivers that hit a students at school bus crossings.
When school buses stop, the law says you’re required to stop too, but the Department of Education reports drivers illegally pass a stopped bus ten thousand times every day.
Drivers who illegally pass a school bus face fines ranging from 100 to 363 dollars, depending on which side they pass but there is no enhanced fine if they hurt someone.
Sponsor Dane Eagle wants to change that.
Under legislation awaiting the Governor’s signature, drivers who hit a student while illegally passing a school bus face a $1,500 fine and a year license suspension.
“We have a family back home who lost their son, Cameron Mayhew, trying to board a school bus and they’re thinking that justice was not served and I agree with them,” said Representative Eagle.
The Legislation also would require them to clock 120 hours of community service at a trauma center.
Senator Rob Bradley was one of just six no votes in the entire legislature, in part because he says the community service could cause more trauma for a driver who has hurt someone and also because not everyone should be in a trauma center.
“Factioning the appropriate resolution is a job for a judge to do. Not for us in Tallahassee because we don’t know the peculiar facts of each case,” said Bradley.
However there are two other offenses that carry the same community service requirement, vehicular homicide and crashes involving personal injury or death.
The bill also requires offenders to attend a victim impact panel session or driving improvement course and puts six points on their license.
Representative Eagle says he believes the community service hours will help offenders do some good in the midst of a tragic situation.

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