Lawmaker proposes bigger fines for speeding in Utah school zones

Jan 26, 2024, 5:00 PM | Updated: Jan 27, 2024, 10:00 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawmaker is proposing substantially higher fines for speeding in a school zone.

Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, is sponsoring HB345, which would increase the minimum fine by more than five times – from $50 to $260.

The bill would also crack down on drivers going past school buses with stop signs out, raising that fine fourfold to $1,000, along with community service.

A school bus with extended stop sign

HB345 would also increase fines for passing school buses with stop signs out to $1,000. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

“A $1,000 fine is a lot better than dealing with the death of a child,” Spendlove told KSL TV in an interview Friday.

The lawmaker said the idea for the bill came from Craig Moody, a Sandy resident and former Utah House speaker in the 1990s. Moody said fines for speeding through school zones haven’t changed much since he was in the state Legislature, and he believes it’s time they do.

“My hope is the bill will pass,” Moody said. “It will remind people there’s a pretty hefty fine if you’re going through the school zone way too fast.”

Moody said he regularly sees drivers zooming through a school zone in his neighborhood, sometimes hitting speeds of 40 or 50 mph.

“I just keep thinking, what child can we afford to lose?” he said.

Under the bill, fines for speeding in school zones could reach more than $900, depending on the severity and number of prior offenses.

Spendlove acknowledged these are big increases but points out they would be more on par with penalties for speeding in construction zones.

“I think the safety of our kids is as important as the safety of our construction workers,” he said.

Back in Sandy, Moody hopes lawmakers will see it that way.

“Every parent should be able to expect to send their kids to school and have them come home safely,” he said.

HB345 has not had a committee hearing yet, but there’s still time. There’s just over a month to go in the legislative session.

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Lawmaker proposes bigger fines for speeding in Utah school zones