Governor Rick Scott signed a measure into law Tuesday, named for a Cape Coral teen who was killed when a driver did not yield to a stopped school bus.
The new law stiffens penalties for drivers who do not stop for a school bus and cause serious bodily injury or death. The state legislature passed the bill in May with widespread support. The measure is named for Cameron Mayhew, who was a 16-year old student at Fort Myers High School when he was struck and killed by a driver who did not stop for a school bus in June 2016. The driver, Zackery Treinen, received a $1,000 fine and a six-month license suspension.
Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral and Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, sponsored the bill in their respective chambers after Mayhew’s parents appealed to Rep. Eagle. Sen. Passidomo said the old penalties did not have any teeth.
“What this bill does, it requires a driver to serve 120 community service hours in a trauma center or a hospital or some kind of emergency facility to see what that’s like; to see people that come in to the facility after having been in an accident,” said Sen. Passidomo.
“There’s a $1,500 fine, one-year suspension and six points added to a person’s driver’s license. So these measures are a little bit more punitive than what it was in the past and maybe give someone pause to do that again.”
The measure will also require negligent drivers responsible for serious bodily injury or death after failing to yield to a school bus to participate in a victim’s impact panel or attend a Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles approved driver-improvement course.
“My heart went out to this family,” said Sen. Passidomo. “This was a 16-year-old boy who had his whole life ahead of him and just stopped short by a careless driver. It brings into question the broader question of ‘How do we create safe ways for people to drive, people to ride bicycles, people to walk in an environment where more and more cars are on the road in older roads that aren’t really meant to handle all this traffic.”
The new law takes effect July 1.