LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A trio of transportation-based laws has been introduced to the Arkansas Legislature revolving around students on school buses and drunk and distracted driving.
State Rep. Scott Richardson, who represents parts of Benton County, is the lead sponsor for House Bill 1511 or Charlie’s Law.
The bill honors Charlie Carpenter, a Bentonville kindergartner. Court documents say Carpenter was left on a school bus for nearly four hours in 2022.
A maintenance worker found Carpenter alive on the bus drenched in sweat and sitting in his own urine.
If passed, the bill would require an electronic child safety alarm system to be installed in all school buses.
The system would require drivers to inspect the entirety of the school bus before being able to exit.
It would be installed in each new or used school bus by the year 2029 if passed.
Another house bill could hand down tougher punishments for drunk drivers who kill someone in an accident.
House Bill 1526 would permit a drunk driver who causes the death of someone to be charged with murder in the second degree.
Right now, in the state of Arkansas, if an intoxicated driver were to kill someone involuntarily, they would most likely be charged with negligent homicide, which is a Class B felony.
House Bill 1486, or Ashton’s Law, would amend the law concerning distracted driving.
The bill honors the life of Ashton Rae Woods, a woman who was killed during a distracted driving accident.
The bill would seek to impose a Class A misdemeanor for drivers who cause accidents resulting in serious injuries or death while using a cell phone.