WEST HAVEN, CT (WFSB) – After a couple of close calls with cars passing stopped school buses in West Haven, local leaders are pushing for action against the drivers.
They say now is the time for the state to put in stiffer penalties.
Legislators pushed for something similar last yet, but they couldn’t get the bill out of committee. Now, West Haven’s delegation is moving it forward once again and they’re not the only ones demanding action.
“This is unacceptable, they need to have suspend their license, they need to be arrested. It could be a misdemeanor, put them in jail. You’re going to hurt a child,” said Bridgette Hoskie, West Haven City Councilor.
For West Haven City Councilor Bridgette Hoskie, it got personal when a friend’s daughter was waiting for a bus on Saw Mill Road.
“When she went to step out, she heard the car, saw the car, and stepped back. The car came around, into the oncoming lane and just blew by her. Never stopped, never did anything,” Hoskie said.
There’s been a number of incidents so far this school year.
Earlier this month, Bailey Middle School 8th grader, Rachel Memmott, told Channel 3 about two close calls she had. One happened when she was heading towards the bus and the second time was when she was getting off.
In the first instance, police caught up with the driver who passed the bus, giving that person a $475 ticket.
“I’d like to see the penalties increase, they haven’t increased since 2011 and 1980 is when we established fines specifically for passing school buses. That’s almost 40 years, it’s only been increased one time,” said Rep. Dorinda Borer.
Borer said she’d like to see the violation also become a misdemeanor, along with looking to see if the arm that comes out of the buses could be extended, putting the stop sign further out on the road.
“This is a penalty that really need to send a message to those that there is no greater value than our children’s lives and that we really need to have these stiff penalties,” Borer said.
Borer said the chair of the Judiciary Committee is already open to holding a hearing on the issue when the legislature gets underway in February. Hoskie said she’ll be there to testify.