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Senate to Vote on Tougher Penalties for Passing School Buses

Crackdown sparked by deaths of three children at Rochester bus stop

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Running a school-bus stop sign could cost you more money, your license, and even some jail time.

Legislators are looking at tougher penalties after three siblings were killed in Rochester on their way to board their bus, by a driver who didn't stop. The Department of Education estimates half-a-million Indiana drivers ignore the stop arm every year. They could have gotten a ticket if they got caught. Logansport Republican Randy Head's bill would make it a misdemeanor, with a mandatory license suspension. It'd be a felony if someone gets hurt.

Nine-year-old Alivia Stahl's father Michael acknowledges some people will ignore the law no matter what. But he says tougher penalties would make drivers think twice about an action he says "destroys families."

"I didn't get to tell my daughter goodbye. I didn't get to give her a hug or a kiss, because somebody decided to ignore their responsibilities as a driver," Stahl told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The woman accused of running over Alivia and her twin half-brothers Mason and Xzavier Ingle has been charged with reckless homicide.

The bill also orders schools to redesign their bus routes so kids aren't crossing state highways to get to the stop. And it would allow school districts to mount cameras on the stop arm to catch violators.

The committee unanimously endorsed the bill. The full Senate could vote next week.

(Photo: Thinkstock)

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