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Olmsted Falls mayor trying to stiffen penalties for drivers who pass stopped school bus

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OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio - The mayor of Olmsted Falls says he will propose legislation next week that will strengthen penalties for impatient drivers who pass stopped school buses with flashing stop signs.

"I've talked to bus drivers. They say it happens three to four times a week so almost every day this occurs," said Mayor Jim Graven.

Under his proposal, penalties would increase from a $500 fine to up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail. The Olmsted Falls superintendent says he supports the push to keep students safer at the bus stop.

"It's sad that you have to have a proposal that's going to increase a fine for something you would hope people would just obey," said Olmsted Falls City Schools Superintendent Jim Lloyd.

According to the district transportation supervisor, Heath Krakowiak, the district uses school buses that are larger than most in the area.

"We run 84 passenger buses, transit style buses which are pretty much the biggest buses you can run in the state," said Krakowiak. "It allows us to get more kids on our buses and run a fewer amount of buses."

Mayor Graven says he will introduce the proposal to city council and hopes the typical three readings before a law is passed will be waived and the stiffer penalties are immediately passed.

"People are just in a hurry and they're willing to take that risk to sacrifice, I guess, a person in order to get to work on time," said Lloyd.

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