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Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Betsy K. Greene with Greene & Schultz Trial Lawyers.
After a tragic bus accident, the Indiana legislature is making efforts to prevent future crashes.
The fatal crash occurred on October 30, 2018, in Indiana. A school bus was stopped on the road and the stop arm extended. Despite this stop sign, a Toyota Tacoma hit four kids who were crossing the street to get to the bus.
Three of those kids were pronounced dead on the scene. The fourth child was rushed to the hospital. Alivia Stahl was 9—she was pronounced dead after the crash. Her twin brothers, both 6 years old and named Xzavier and Mason Ingle, were also killed. The fourth child survived.
The facts brought in full force the gravity of the situation, forcing lawmakers to come to terms with what needed to be done. Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, filed legislation just recently to protect children as they approach school buses.
The new bill attempts to increase the severity of the violation: penalties would increase as a part of this new bill. Additionally, children would no longer have to cross a state highway just to get to a bus, which then changes the logistics of school transportation a bit. Thirdly, schools would be able to petition for reduced speed limits around established bus stops in an attempt to further limit potential disaster.
Furthermore the new bill takes the current violation from a Class D misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor: a fairly drastic increase in severity, but worth the change all the more. In fact, if injury occurs due to the violation, it becomes a Level 6 Felony. This gives drivers extra incentive to be patient regardless and ensure that when that stop arm goes back up, it’s now safe to go and not before.
Also, the driver’s operator license receives a suspension for 90 days, which can be increased to an entire year upon a second offense or more. And as you may see within the new bill stipulations, even bus drivers can be penalized for picking students up by state highways.
No matter how late anyone is, it’s never a good idea to try and pass a stopped bus with the arm out—even when it seems like no kids have showed up. In seconds, that could change, and those seconds are what count.
Families affected by a tragedy like a school bus accident should reach out to an injury attorney immediately. Most of them offer free consultations, so you can immediately understand your legal options and get some peace of mind about what to do next.
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