Last May, Four Oaks employees were deeply saddened by the death of former co-worker Kari Halverson’s daughter. First grader Kadyn Halverson was killed when a driver illegally passed a stopped school bus near Kensett in northern Iowa. While the tragedy can never be removed, Kari, who worked at the Mason City campus, wanted to find a way to make something positive result from the loss of Kadyn. Today, it is fitting to recognize that the efforts of Kari and countless others have resulted in the form of a new bill that brings tougher penalties for drivers who fail to obey school bus traffic laws.
The bill, known as “Kadyn’s Law,” passed unanimously in the Senate on March 1. The bill will go to the House for further consideration where a similar version of the bill has already passed through committee.
Kari, in addition to family and friends, have worked tirelessly for the past several months to persuade lawmakers to strengthen the laws and increase penalties. Four Oaks Chief Information Officer and Iowa state senator Liz Mathis was also involved in passing the bill.
Currently, passing a bus with flashing red warning lights results in a $200 fine. Senate File 2218 would bring a fine from $250 to $675 for a first offense, in addition to up to 30 days in jail. Fines for subsequent violations could reach to $1,875. Injury from a violation could give the driver additional fines, jail time, and license suspension. In addition, Kadyn’s Law directs the state to provide an educational program to help drivers better understand the need to obey the bus stop laws.
We applaud Kari’s efforts in making Kadyn’s Law a reality to help protect the safety of Iowa’s children.