Lawmakers Approved Addy’s Law to Increase the School Bus Fine

Photo shows a stop sign displayed on the side of a school bus (stock photo).
(stock photo)

State lawmakers gave their approval on Thursday to Addy’s Law. The bill increases the fine for motorists who pass a stopped school bus when its stop arm is activated. It also encourages school districts to minimize students crossing the road, when feasible.

The bill now goes to Governor Kemp for his consideration. The governor has 40 days, or until May 7, to sign or veto bills following the annual session.

Addy’s Law

State Rep. Lauren Daniel of Locust Grove sponsored Addy’s Law following the passing of eight-year-old Adalynn Pierce in February. Addy was struck by a passing vehicle while crossing the road to board the school bus in McDonough. The language from Addy’s Law was inserted into house bill 409 before its passage. HB 409 includes the following:

  • school districts are encouraged to consider bus stops where students do not have to cross the road, when the speed limit is 40 mph or greater,
  • changes the criminal offense of passing a stopped school bus, when observed by a police officer, from a misdemeanor to a high and aggravated misdemeanor; this changes the fine from $250 to $1,000, and a possible jail sentence of up to 12 months, or both;
  • increases the civil fine for passing a stopped school bus, when observed by an automated camera on the side of the bus, from $250 to $1,000; and
  • permits law enforcement to notify a driver’s insurance company upon a second or subsequent occurrence of passing a stopped school bus.

The bill passed the house by a vote of 93–78. It passed the senate 49–3. Senator Rick Williams of Milledgeville carried the measure in the state senate.

Comparison to Other States

The amount of the fine varies greatly from state to state. For example, Indiana charges up to $10,000 for such offense. The fine in Alaska and Oregon can be $2,000. Most states fall within $250–$1,000 for the fine amount. In addition, different states may suspend a driver’s license for the offense. A driver in Iowa can have their license suspended upon a first offense. Drivers in Florida will see a license suspension upon a second offense.

Featured image shows a stop sign on a school bus. Stock photo.

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Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. He founded the site in 2017 to highlight transportation projects. Over time, he began covering other topics like new development so residents can best know what’s happening in our community.