Gov. Brian Kemp. 
Photo: AJC file.
Photo: AJC file.

Kemp signs school bus safety bill

It’s the first piece of legislation he signed into law

Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation that fixes a flaw in Georgia law that allowed drivers on some highways to keep moving even when a school bus is boarding or releasing students. 

It is the first measure the Republican signs into law since he was sworn in as governor, and he held a signing ceremony surrounded by legislators and public safety officials.

The error was embedded into law last year when legislation was passed that allowed oncoming traffic from motorists on highways divided only by a turn lane to keep driving even when school buses were stopped to let kids out. 

Then-Gov. Nathan Deal signed the legislation, which also set a host of new traffic camera rules, despite concerns from school safety officials

Soon after came an unofficial opinion from Attorney General Chris Carr that affirmed the change meant drivers in the oncoming lane would no longer need to stop for a school bus if there’s a painted turning lane in between. 

The sponsors of the bill quickly said the school bus change was an inadvertent addition to the legislation, and soon they heard complaints from parents, teachers and administrators who worried that children could be at risk. 

The updated version of the legislation requires drivers in oncoming lanes to stop for school buses unless there’s a highway divided by a median. It speedily passed both chambers of the Legislature with no dissent, and was fast-tracked to Kemp’s desk. 

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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