D.O.T. illustration of proper bus safety.

Iowa motorists are being warned about the deadly risks, and the increased fines, if they pass a stopped school bus.

In north-central Iowa, the West Fork school district reports three instances of drivers passing stopped school buses near Rockwell in the past week.

Iowa State Patrol safety education officer Mark Domino says it’s illegal to pass in either direction while the school bus has its stop signal arm extended. Domino says there have been three bus-related fatalities in his district in the last two years, one of which resulted in Iowa lawmakers creating “Kadyn’s Law.”

He says when people see the flashing lights on a bus, they need to slow down and be prepared to stop. He says if a motorist hits a child, it’s going to be an ever-lasting, bad memory. Domino says drivers need to be aware when they are following or approaching a school bus and be ready to stop when the bus makes a stop to pick up a child.

Domino says people have so many things going on in the car like talking on cell phones, texting, drinking and eating, but drivers need to concentrate on the road. Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Kadyn Halverson of rural Kensett. She was hit by a motorist while crossing the road to board her school bus.

Kadyn’s Law was signed into law by Governor Branstad in March. It mandates fines of at least $250 and the possibility of jail time of up to 30 days for first time offenders. A second offense within five years would carry a fine of no less than $315 and the possibility of one year behind bars.

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City