No Excuse

New bill would set up harsh penalties

One of the most regularly violated laws in West Virginia is that requiring that motorists not pass stopped school buses. It happens all the time, throughout the state.

Eventually the law of averages will catch up with us. One of those scofflaw drivers will hit and kill a child.

School and law enforcement officials have tried a variety of tactics to curb the practice. They range from stiffer penalties for violators to police officers riding on school buses. Nothing seems to work.

A bill moving through the state Senate may help, if it is enacted. It would mandate even more harsh penalties for violators of the law, with a first conviction resulting in a fine of at least $500 and as much as $1,000.

Minimum fines for second offenders would be $1,000 and for third-timers, $2,000.

In addition, the bill would mandate every school bus be equipped with a dashboard camera capable of recording license plates of those passing stopped buses.

Pass it. There is no excuse — none whatsoever — for passing a stopped school bus with its caution lights flashing. Those doing so put our children and grandchildren at risk.

So pass the bill, perhaps with an amendment that third offenders lose their driver’s licenses for life. Three strikes against this law, and offenders ought to be out of the driver’s seat.