School bus law needs more teeth

Police officers and sheriff’s deputies work hard to safeguard children endangered by reckless drivers who pass stopped school buses. One of their biggest frustrations is enforcing the law against that.

It is not at all difficult to identify vehicles involved in such situations. Many school buses are equipped with cameras allowing drivers to capture images of car and truck license plates.

But once that evidence is taken to court, things become murkier. Vehicle owners often protest that they were not driving and should not be held responsible for passing stopped school buses.

State legislators apparently have had enough of that claim. A bill in the state Senate would create a presumption of responsibility for the owners of cars and trucks that pass stopped buses.

It may be a good idea to amend the bill somewhat, to let vehicle owners who can prove their innocence, perhaps by getting a courtroom confession from the guilty party, off the hook.

But holding owners responsible when their property is used illegally is not a novel concept – and, of course, in many cases, it really is the owners at the wheel when they breeze by stopped buses.

Protecting our children is important enough for legislators to make the bill a priority.