Gov. Jim Justice has signed a bill to increase penalties for drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.

First offenders can now expect to pay a fine between $250 and $1,000, second offenders a fine between $1,000 and $1,500 and third offenders a fine of $2,000 — along with no less than 48 hours in jail.

Licenses will now be suspended for 60 days upon the first offense instead of 30 days, second offenders will have their licenses suspended for 180 days and third offenders will have their licenses suspended for a year.

Fayette County Sheriff Mike Fridley believes these harsher sentences will deter drivers from committing the offense.

“I think this will be an eye-opener to people,” Fridley said. “It’s not something that happens every day around here since most people are concerned about the children, but there have been a couple of times that it has happened.”

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