Lehigh Valley

Allentown mom adamant in changing school bus laws

VIDEO: Bus stop mom wants harsher...

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - An Allentown mother says her child and others aren't safe at the bus stop, which is why she's pushing to change Pennsylvania's School Bus Passing Law so violators face harsher punishments.

Amber Clark has become well known at her 5-year-old daughter's bus stop in Allentown.

"I'm known out here as the lady who yells at the cars," said Clark. 

Clark says she watches in horror as cars fly past stopped school buses every day.

"I see people on their cell phones with their windows down, careening past the school buses," she said.

She started capturing cell phone video for proof and now she's on a mission to raise the fines and punishments for violating the state's School Bus Passing Law. Currently offenders face a 60-day license suspension, five points on their driving record and a $250 fine.

"I would make it a one-year license suspension, a minimum $2,500 fine. I think community service at a school is a good idea," said Clark.

Clark created a petition on change.org that now has more than 1,000 signatures. She's also passed out hard copies collecting even more names.  While the support from other parents and community members is strong, Clark says she's not feeling that same sentiment from local lawmakers and safety officials.

"Everyone I have called has said 'it's not my job call so and so, it's not my job call so and so.'"

State Representative Mike Schlossberg says he thinks Pennsylvania's current laws are harsh enough and the issue comes down to enforcement.

"I think what's infinitely more important is actually stopping a situation like this to begin with rather than fining someone after the fact," said Schlossberg.

Both Schlossberg and Clark agree changes must be made, like adding stop-arm cameras to all buses, but Clark says she won't hang up her title of "lady who yells at cars," until her voice is heard.

"My biggest fear is that no one is going to listen or take this seriously until some kid in our city gets hit and killed."

Clark says she'd also like to see the law change so that drivers have to stop 20 feet or more from buses instead of the current 10 foot zone.


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