Kearney, NE - Drivers in Nebraska will soon face stiffer penalties for failure to stop for a school bus that is loading or unloading passengers. Beginning Thursday, July 19, there is a mandatory $500 fine and a loss of three operator’s license points if convicted of such a violation. Prior to the passage of LB 1039, introduced by State Senator Lydia Brasch of Bancroft, the minimum fine could have been as low as $100 and a loss of only one point.
“School bus safety has been a priority throughout the state of Nebraska, but in recent years school bus stop-arm violations have reached epidemic proportions,” said Chuck Hall, Director of Transportation for the Blair Community Schools. “Hopefully the new law will help keep our school students safer as they travel to and from school.”
Only a year ago Hall received a complaint about stop-arm violations almost every school day. Statistics from the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services are just as alarming. Bus drivers surveyed in 28 states were passed illegally an average of three times a year.
Under the new law, drivers meeting or overtaking any school bus must reduce the speed of their vehicle to less than 25 miles per hour if the bus is flashing yellow warning lights. If the red signal lights are flashing and the stop signal arm is extended, drivers approaching from either direction must come to a complete stop until the lights are off, the signal arm is retracted, and the bus resumes moving.
Early in the 2011 school year in Nebraska there were numerous bus-vehicle accidents, with one resulting in a fatality for the driver of the vehicle and several resulting in injuries to bus drivers and students. Approximately 39,000 K-12 public school students in Nebraska ride buses.

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