Source: Nikki Wilson Photos

Last week, Governor Kemp signed HB 409, also known as “Addy’s Law,” which enhances school bus safety in the state. The law requires public school systems to plan school bus routes that don’t require students to cross roads with a speed limit above 40 MPH, and it increases the penalties for failing to stop for a school bus as it is loading or unloading students (see the bill here). 

The bill comes in response to the death of 8-year-old Adalynn Pierce, who was killed on February 1st, as she was trying to board her school bus. Despite the bus having its lights flashing and stop signs displayed, the driver did not stop, and fatally struck Adalynn and she crossed the street. The passage of this law is in large part due to advocacy from Adalynn’s family. In response to Adalynn’s death, her mother started a petition seeking safer school bus conditions for students; at its peak, this petition had over 20,000 signatures. 

Illegal passing of school buses is a prominent issue nation-wide. Through its annual survey, the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services (NASDPTS) estimates that there were about 242,000 illegal passings of buses across the country on one day in 2023, and 43.5 million incidents through that school year. They noted that this number had risen from previous years.

Source: Unsplash/ Megan Lee

According to 11-Alive, the passing of Addy’s Law gives Georgia the strictest school-bus law in the country. Illegal bus passings present a serious threat to students as they commute to and from school, and Adalynn’s death is one of the most recent examples of this problem. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore laws requiring them to stop for school buses. Addy’s law should combat this issue and make it safer for children to board and depart school buses, helping to prevent student injuries and dangerous school bus crashes which, according to the NHTSA, account for around 111 deaths every year. 

Addy’s Law should do a lot to make our streets safer, but it doesn’t completely solve the problem. If you or your child has been injured in a collision involving a school bus, you may be entitled to receive damages. The complex legal system can make this difficult time even harder, but our experienced bus accident attorneys in Atlanta can help you get the redress you deserve.

Call us at (404) 888-0500 today for a free consultation.