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Lori Key woke up on December 11, 2009 and made sure each of her children got on the bus and off to school–it was like any other day. As the afternoon grew to a close, Lori walked to the bus stop to pick up her five-year-old son, Nathaniel Glenn Key. However, before Nathaniel could safely hop off the bus and to his home just a few feet away, he was tragically killed by a driver who failed to stop for the bus’ flashing red lights and stop sign. The pain of losing their son seemed unbearable for Lori and her husband–indeed, they had lost their young child only a few weeks before Christmas. But now Lori and her husband are using their pain to motivate law makers to make sure an accident like theirs never happens again.

According to Lori’s research, each school day, 600,000 cars drive around stopped buses in Virginia. Furthermore, according to a New York Times study, drivers failed to stop 50,000 times a day for school buses letting children off. As a result, 18 children, most of them under age 8, were killed in 2008 while entering or exiting school buses.

As Lori argues, the problem is that many states don’t have very large penalties for drivers who fail to stop for school buses with their lights and stop sign up. Lori and her husband are now working with their state senator in Mississippi to pass “Nathan’s Law” which would raise the fine for failing to stop for a school bus to $500 for the first offense. Furthermore, the law would also include a license suspension for 30 days and a discretionary imprisonment of up to 48 hours. After a second offense, the law would require a $800 fine and up to a 1-year prison sentence. A driver who injured a child while failing to stop for a school bus stop sign would face up to a 5-year prison sentence. Most importantly, the law would focus on educating the public on the importance of stopping for school buses with their lights and stop sign up. Lori simply wants to prevent her pain from spreading to other families by stopping a needless and devastating accident from happening to other children on their way to or from school.

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