TV-6 Investigates: Kadyn's Law, Many Violators Still Out There - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

TV-6 Investigates: Kadyn's Law, Many Violators Still Out There

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School busses have been reappearing throughout the area as kids have headed back to the classroom.

School bus drivers still report motorists breaking the law and putting children in danger.

Stiffer penalties in Iowa haven't yet put the brakes on violators.

It has been one year since Kadyn's law went into effect in Iowa.

A law increasing the penalties for drivers who cruise past a stopped school bus with its stop arm out.

It's named for seven year old Kadyn Halverson who was killed by a pickup truck as she tried to cross the road to get on her school bus.

The increased penalties include an automatic 30 day drivers license suspension for a first offense and increased fines.

TV-6 followed Davenport school busses that report regular violators for several days.

Here's what we found.

"If the arm is out and the lights are flashing, stop, it's just that simple, that may be your kid at another stop," says Durham School Services Manager Curtis Wheeler.

His bus drivers see cars running past their stop signs more often than you think. Even with stiffer penalties in place, the problem grows worse as the year goes on.

"In the beginning of the year people tend to be more aware of the busses out there, their kids are riding, does it stay that way all year long, no it doesn't," says Wheeler.

The drivers turn in around 100 violations to police each school year. Those are the cases where the driver actually had time to gather enough details for a police report. Usually, all they can do is honk the horn.

We caught two cars passing bus 82 as it dropped off a student at West Third and Sturdevant. Wheeler says the driver sees this on a regular basis around here. When they do catch a motorist, they usually hear the same excuse.

"I didn't even see it, it's big and it's yellow, how do you not see it."

Davenport Parent Lakendrick Lloyd asks, "I think personally when you first start driving, they teach you that, and stop is in big red letters so you cannot miss it, so why would you run past it in the first place?"

He plans to walk his kindergartner to the bus stop every day. He's already seen one car pass a stopped school bus here during the first week of school.

"That would be a very devastating moment to see somebody's child get hit," says Lloyd.

He blames drivers speeding in his neighborhood. Drivers in too much of a hurry. An excuse Lloyd says it's unacceptable.

"No, no, most definitely there's not an excuse, you know, it's around school time, and it's a 25 zone so why would you be speeding in the first place?"

Davenport is not the only district seeing this issue up close. 29 states participated in a one day count of stop arm violators this spring. 1600 Iowa bus drivers participated in May. They counted up 180 violators. An 11 percent rate. The count was higher in Illinois. 300 drivers counted 84 violators. A 27 percent rate.

Wheeler says its frustrating. He's seen the problem in every district he's worked for over 10 years.

"We're transporting kids, your kids, my kids, the communities kids, it's not like we're transporting goods," says Wheeler.

Iowa has been keeping track of the number of stop arm violators for years.

Before Kadyn's law went into effect, the Department of Transportation averaged close to 1,000 violations each year.

Last year it recorded 780, an improvement, but it's only one year of data.

The number of convictions though is low, 109 last school year from Maquoketa down to Fort Madison.

Remember, Davenport drivers average 100 turned into police each year.

We'll look into why the conviction rate is low Tuesday.

Illinois drivers who pass a stopped school bus face a three month suspension of their license plus fines.

The suspension increases to one year if a person is convicted of passing another stopped school bus within a five year period.

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