2016 Regular Session
To: Education; Transportation
By: Representatives Haney, Bennett
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 63-3-615, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH A PERSON NEED NOT STOP WHEN MEETING OR PASSING A SCHOOL BUS ON A DIVIDED HIGHWAY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 63-3-615, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
63-3-615. (1) (a) The driver of a vehicle upon a street or highway upon meeting or overtaking any school bus that has stopped on the street or highway for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school children shall come to a complete stop at least ten (10) feet from the school bus before reaching the school bus when there is in operation on the school bus the flashing red lights provided in Section 63-7-23, or when a retractable, hand-operated stop sign is extended; the driver shall not proceed until the children have crossed the street or highway and the school bus has resumed motion or the flashing red lights are no longer actuated and the hand-operated stop sign is retracted.
(b) The driver of a
vehicle upon a divided highway that has four (4) lanes or more * * *
and permits at least two (2) lanes of traffic to travel in opposite
directions need not stop upon meeting or passing a school bus that is * * * stopped in the opposing
roadway, or * * * if the school bus is stopped in a
loading zone that is a part of or adjacent to the highway and where pedestrians
are not permitted to cross the roadway.
(2) (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon a first conviction thereof shall be fined not less than Three Hundred Fifty Dollars ($350.00) nor more than Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($750.00), or imprisoned for not more than one (1) year, or both. For a second or subsequent offense, the offenses being committed within a period of five (5) years, the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than Seven Hundred Fifty Dollars ($750.00) nor more than One Thousand Five Hundred Dollars ($1,500.00), or imprisoned for not more than one (1) year, or both. In addition, the Commissioner of Public Safety or his duly authorized designee, after conviction for a second or subsequent offense and upon receipt of the court abstract, shall suspend the driver's license and driving privileges of the person for a period of ninety (90) days.
(b) A conviction under this section for a violation resulting in any injury to a child who is in the process of boarding or exiting a school bus shall be a violation of Section 97-3-7, and a violator shall be punished under subsection (2) of that section.
(3) This section shall be applicable only in the event the school bus shall bear upon the front and rear thereon a plainly visible sign containing the words "school bus" in letters not less than four (4) inches in height.
(4) If the driver of any vehicle is witnessed by a law enforcement officer or the driver of a school bus to have violated this section and the identity of the driver of the vehicle is not otherwise apparent, it shall be a rebuttable inference that the person in whose name the vehicle is registered committed the violation. If charges are filed against multiple owners of a motor vehicle, only one (1) of the owners may be convicted and court costs may be assessed against only one (1) of the owners. If the vehicle that is involved in the violation is registered in the name of a rental or leasing company and the vehicle is rented or leased to another person at the time of the violation, the rental or leasing company may rebut the inference of guilt by providing the law enforcement officer or prosecuting authority with a copy of the rental or lease agreement in effect at the time of the violation.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2016.