UPDATE: W.Va. House OKs bill to hike fines for passing school buses

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The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill that would increase fines for passing a stopped school bus whose warning lights are flashing.

The House approved the bill on a 90-1 vote Thursday. The bill now goes to the governor.

Violators would see minimum fines doubled to $500 for a first offense and $1,000 for a second offense under the bill. It also carries a maximum six-month jail term.

The bill also would double driver's license suspensions to 60 days for a first offense and 180 days for a second offense.

It also would require exterior cameras on the front and back of all county school buses bought after July 1.

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Penalties could increase for people who pass a school bus while it's stopped for students getting on and off.

The West Virginia Senate Monday unanimously approved a bill doubling minimum fines to $500 for first offenses.

Fines for a second offense would be $1,000.

It's already an offense for drivers to pass a stopped school bus with its flashing warning lights on.

Still, Wood County Schools Transportation Director Richard Lance says it's almost a daily occurrence.

"When those red lights come on, just stop, take your time and let them get the children off," Lance says. "It's going to take maybe a minute, at the most, depending on how many students are dropping off."

The measure would also require exterior cameras on the front and back of all county school buses purchased after July 1.

The bill now goes on to the House of Delegates.

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