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Nation’s toughest school bus law signed in Georgia

Adalynn Pierce

ATLANTA - State Representative Lauren Daniel (R-Locust Grove) stood alongside Gov. Brian Kemp today as he signed House Bill 409, also known as Addy’s Law. 

This law is named after Adalynn Pierce, an eight-year-old girl from Henry County who tragically lost her life while crossing the road to catch her school bus. Adalynn's family, who attended the signing, thanked Rep. Daniel for her tireless efforts in getting this law passed.

"Today is an important day for Georgia as we work to keep our young students safe and honor the memory of a special little girl," said Rep. Daniel. "Addy’s Law is a big step forward in our commitment to protecting children in Georgia. I want to thank Governor Kemp and my fellow lawmakers for their support. I hope this new law will prevent other families from going through the same pain that the Pierce family and our community experienced with Addy's tragic and preventable loss."

Addy's Law requires public schools to plan bus routes that avoid having students cross roads where the speed limit is higher than 40 miles per hour.

The law also makes the consequences harsher for drivers who pass a stopped school bus when children are getting on or off.

This action is now considered a serious crime, with a fine of at least $1,000 and the possibility of spending at least 12 months in jail upon conviction. If someone commits this offense more than once, their car's information will be sent to their insurance company.

What happened to Adalynn Pierce

The 8-year-old girl was fatally struck by a car while trying to get on a school bus on Jackson Lake Road in Henry County on Feb. 1, 2024. Troopers report that the bus had its red flashing lights activated, along with the stop sign displayed on both the front and rear.

Troopers identified the driver of the car as Kaylee Andre, 25. She was booked into the Henry County Jail on charges of first-degree vehicular homicide, failure to stop for a school bus loading and unloading, and failure to exercise due care.

In a Facebook post, Addy's family said her life mission was to help and pray for others and she now gets to do so in the most heroic way by saving 8 lives with organ donation and helping 75 children with tissue donations.

After the little girl's death, her mother started a petition for the creation of a law that would require school buses to pick children up in their driveways so they wouldn't have to cross the street to board a school bus.

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That law is a "bridge too far". The 40mph limit for road crossing is just not realistic. Yes, drivers who violate the flashing lights and warning signs should treated harshly. But picking up each kid in their own private drive is just an unrealistic exercise in bus routing. This is just "feel good" legislation passed with little regard to the time and expense of operating the buses.

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Well, some folks will happily live with inconvenience, time constraints and slowing down for the safety of our kids.

The notion that speeders will be fined and that comprises an equitable solution is, at best useless. The point isn’t to fine speeders, it’s to save our children’s lives .

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