Punish those who put children at risk

Scofflaw motorists who pass stopped school buses deserve severe punishment. West Virginia legislators want stiffer penalties for the offense.

If Gov. Jim Justice signs SB 238, approved by lawmakers during their regular session, fines for passing stopped school buses with their warning lights flashing would double. Justice should sign the measure, of course.

It would provide fines of up to $1,000 for first offenders — plus as much as six months in jail. Subsequent infractions carry higher punishment.

Many school bus drivers have been forced to take special measures to protect the children under their care. That is why motorists often notice that when buses stop to pick up or let off children, the big yellow vehicles are positioned to at least partially block the lane of traffic that could be used to pass them.

In view of the frequency with which people pass stopped buses, it is something of a miracle that more children have not been injured by the scofflaws. So the increased penalties are welcome.

Law enforcement officers should make arrests each and every time they catch someone disobeying the law on stopped school buses. And magistrates and other judges dealing with those who place our children at risk should throw the book, now heavier, at them.


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