DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – New legislation introduced at the Ohio Statehouse this week could double fines for drivers who fail to stop for school buses.

According to current law, passing a school bus with flashing lights carries a maximum $500 penalty and a one-year license suspension.

Wednesday, Rep. Niraj Antani reintroduced House Bill 89, which would change the penalty to $1,000.

He told 2 NEWS harsher fines are an effective deterrent.

“We all slow down in construction zones, not only because it’s dangerous for construction workers, but also because the fines are triple,” Antani said.

The original bill did not gain traction when it was first introduced near the end of the previous General Assembly in December. The legislation was prompted by Miamisburg parents, who complained to the lawmaker about wreckless drivers at school bus stops.

“This is a widespread problem, not only happening around Miamisburg, not only happening around the Dayton area, but happening around the state,” Antani said.

In addition to larger fines, the bill proposes adding more signage and educational material to Ohio Bureaus of Motor Vehicles explaining the school bus laws.

It would also appropriate $1 million so school districts can apply for grants to pay for school bus cameras. Antani explained the measure is meant to increase accountability for offending drivers.

“If a school bus is stopped, picking up kids or dropping them off, you should stop. And if you don’t you should be penalized,” he said.

The bill will go to committee before returning to the House floor for a vote.

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