The Iowa Department of Transportation's new student transportation website includes information to make the public more aware of school buses on the road.
The site was developed after the state enacted "Kadyn's Law," which strengthened penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus. The law is named after Kadyn Halverson, a 7-year-old girl who was struck and killed last year by a pickup truck while crossing the street to her school bus stop from her baby-sitter's house.
The law also directed the Iowa DOT to enact rules that make illegally passing a stopped school bus a serious moving violation that triggers increasing periods of suspension for first, second and subsequent offenses. In August, the Iowa Department of Transportation adopted an emergency administrative rule that suspends driver licenses for 30 days for a first conviction, 90 days for a second conviction and 180 days for a third or subsequent conviction.
"The (website) project’s goal was simply to help educate Iowans on the safety issues surrounding school buses in our state and to hopefully make our kids more safe," said Max Christensen, the executive officer of school transportation at the Iowa Department of Education and soon to be president of NASDPTS, following the association's annual meeting that begins this week in Memphis, Tenn.
The new site also provides safety information on the school bus "Danger Zone," the approximately 12-foot area surrounding the bus where students are in more danger of being struck by a passing vehicle or by the school bus during loading or unloading. The Iowa DOT also links to information on safe practices for school bus riders, school bus driver training and the state's Safe Routes to School Program.
Additionally, users can access results of the past two years of the National School Bus Loading & Unloading Survey, which is conducted by the Kansas State Department of Education, and an Iowa superintendent's survey on school bus safety training.