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Bill to increase fines for not stopping at school bus stop signs advances

Bill increases fine for ignoring bus stop sign

BONNEVILLE COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Lawmakers in Boise are cracking down even harder on people who ignore school bus stop signs. A bill to raise fines for passing a school bus with its stop-arm extended advanced to the House committee on Monday.

It would raise the fine to $200 for a first offense, $400 for the second offense and $600 for the third offense.

"The increase in the fine money, over the $100, will go into a fund (and) will be used to buy cameras for (school bus) stop-arms," said Rep. Clark Kauffman, R-Filer.

Kaufman, who sponsored the bill, said the cameras would make it easier for law enforcement by capturing photos of license plates or the drivers themselves.

"Sometimes citations aren't written because they can't identify the driver," Kaufman said.

Bonneville County Sheriff's deputy Daniel Sperry spoke to lawmakers Monday because he is passionate about this issue. 

"Honestly, the goal is not to write citations. We want people to not pass school buses," Sperry said. "School buses carry our most precious cargo. We want people to stop for them."

Sperry lost his own daughter to someone failing to stop for a school bus in 2011. That school bus did not have cameras on it.

"Because of that, I had to testify at my own daughter's trial," Sperry said. "A couple of kids that were on the bus had to testify at her trial, a fourth-grader and a sixth-grader."

He said if the bus did have cameras, it could have saved the kids from having to relive his daughter getting struck and killed.

"It's just tragic," Sperry said.

In February, the first version of the draft of the bill had the initial fine increased to $500, the second offense would be $750 and the third offense was $1,000. Committee members said it was too much of an increase.

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