MAX Strong school bus safety bill takes effect Monday
One of the many new laws that take effect on July 1 in Indiana is the MAX Strong bill, which was designed to improve school bus safety. The law was prompted by the deaths of Xzavier and Mason Ingle, 6, and their older sister, Alivia Stahl, 9 in October 2018.
Max, Alivia and Xavier (MAX) were killed and Maverik Lowe was seriously injured when a driver struck the students as they attempted to board their bus.
The new law has multiple provisions to provide extra safety for students boarding and riding the bus.
The new law:
- Increases penalties for drivers who pass a stopped school bus when the stop arm is extended. A person who recklessly passes a school bus stopped with the stop arm extended can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty increases to a Level 6 felony if someone is injured and to a level 5 felony if it causes the death of a person.
- Requires school districts that provide transportation to students to review their school bus routes and bus safety policies to improve the safety of students and adults by September 1 each school year.
- If the bus is operating on a federal or state highway, the driver cannot load or unload students at a location that requires them to cross the roadway unless no safe alternatives are available.
- If a bus must load or unload elementary school students on a federal or state highway, the district must present the school bus route to the school board for approval.