HARRISBURG –With a new school year beginning, there is renewed focus on getting children to and from school safely. Despite clear laws aimed at protecting children entering or departing a school bus or using a crosswalk, there are increasing reports of motorists speeding through school zones and distracted and reckless drivers placing the safety of school bus passengers and drivers at risk. In response to the alarming trend, Luzerne County Sen. Lisa Baker is working to increase penalties for those refusing to follow the law. Recent data from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts finds about 1,000 drivers each year are convicted of passing a stopped school bus with signals flashing. More incidents occur where the driver’s information is not captured on camera, or the charge does not result in a conviction. The current penalty for refusing to stop when red lights are flashing or a stop arm is extended includes a $250 fine, five points on the violators driving record, and a 60-day license suspension. Senate Bill 897 would give judges the discretion to increase fines and creates a requirement that repeat offenders complete a PennDOT Driving Improvement School. A new category would also be established for those refusing to stop for yellow lights.