Gov. Brian Kemp signs his first law Friday, Feb. 15.

Gov. Brian Kemp signs his first law Friday, Feb. 15.

Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday signed his first law since taking office.

"This was a team effort from the general assembly, law enforcement, educators and concerned citizens to do the right thing and help save kid’s lives," Kemp said.

Senate Bill 25 was the first measure Republicans passed under the Kemp Administration, and the law makes it illegal for oncoming traffic to drive past a stopped school bus in a road divided by a turn lane.

“If you’re a parent, putting your child on a bus,” said Commissioner Mark McDonough, Georgia Department of Public Safety. “It’s correcting a problem that could put their safety in jeopardy."

For years, Georgia law required motorists — on both sides of the road — to stop when a school bus extends its stop arm unless the way had a grassy or concrete median, and in that case, oncoming traffic could continue to move. However, last year on the last day of the legislative session lawmakers passed a bill allowing vehicles to drive past a school bus if the road had a turning lane.

"We’ve all seen five lanes where the center lane is a turn lane. Some people call it the suicide lane,” said McDonough.  “In some rural communities, some places where the bus runs the route, that child is crossing all the way across that roadway.”

The legislation sailed through the General Assembly with unanimous approval because it corrects a mistake that could have put children on school buses at risk.

“Republicans and Democrats recognized the swift action was needed on this issue. And when it came to ensuring the safety of our families and our children, I’m proud to say that we all have stood together."