Leaders of a north-central Iowa group says Iowa’s law dealing with drivers who run school bus stop signs is one of the worst in the country.

The group “Kadyn’s Law” was formed after the death of seven-year-old Kadyn Halverson of rural Kensett, who was hit by a pickup and killed in May while trying to board a school bus near her home.

Worth County Development Authority executive director Kim Koenigs is working to raise awareness about what’s considered the nation’s seventh-worst law dealing with school bus stop signs.

She says the penalty in Iowa is a $200 fine, plus court costs. The fine structure isn’t a progressive one calling for stricter penalties for each future offense and there’s no suspension of a driver’s license, which is the case in other states.

Koenigs says Iowa’s fines should be increased to be comparable to other states.

She says a first offense in Minnesota can be between $300 and $3,000. In Mississippi, if a child is injured in such an accident, the driver can get up to 20 years in prison.

Like with driving drunk, Koenigs says she’d like to see the penalty raised high enough so drivers would think twice before running a school bus stop sign.

She says if people have in the back of their mind that they’d face a heavy fine or jailtime, it would decrease the number of violations and would end up saving lives. The group Kadyn’s Law proposes raising the first offense to a fine between $350-750 and/or a year in jail.

A second offense would result in a fine of up to $15-hundred or a year in prison with a 90-day suspension of license. The third offense in a five-year period would be a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Vehicular homicide penalties would also be raised under the proposal, which Koenigs says probably will take a year or two to get through the legislature. Learn more at: www.kadynslaw.com

Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City