By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network
In 2007, six year old Haven Brooke McCarthy was getting out of her Lincoln County, West Virginia school bus when she was hit and killed by a vehicle illegally passing her school bus. At the time, the driver’s offense was considered a misdemeanor. Since Haven’s death, her family has been working with lawmakers to toughen up the penalties for breaking school bus safety laws.
Thanks to their efforts, the West Virginia legislature has passed a tough new law that is aimed at avoiding or preventing child injuries when kids are on their way to and from school. Under the newly passed law, drivers in either direction who fail to stop when a school bus stops and flashes its warning lights may face felony charges and even prison time for the offense if someone is injured or killed due to their actions. A driver who causes an injury could face up to three years in prison; a driver who kills someone could be put in prison for up to ten years.
The law also increases fines for drivers who violate the school bus safety laws, and introduces the potential for a driver to lose his or her license – even if no one is injured. Drivers will have an extra incentive to use caution even when there is no police car in sight; the new law also allows counties to set up cameras on school buses to catch offenders on film.
Read more about the new school bus safety law in West Virginia at Child killed exiting bus spurs W.Va. lawmakers.