New school bus law in Arizona to help keep students safe

PHOENIX - For state officials it's House Bill 2170, but to Butch Bates it's Elizabeth's Law.

That's because five years ago he lost his granddaughter and he proposed this new law in the hopes that what happened to Elizabeth will never happen again.

"She was vibrant. She would walk in a room and the lights would come on, that's just how she was." said Bates.

Elizabeth was hit by a truck and killed while she was getting off a bus. The truck driver didn't stop and didn't have to at the time because Arizona law didn't require drivers to wait for stopped buses on private roads.

A loophole Bates says he was determined to close.

"That's a promise that we made Elizabeth when she passed away," said Bates.

Working together with attorney Marc Lamber, Craig Bates and his family drafted a new law.

It took nearly five years but HB 2170 went into effect Friday morning. HB 2170 requires all vehicles to stop for school buses on every road. The law before didn't require vehicles to stop on rural roads.

"We did this because we don't want your family or anybody else's family to go through what we had to go through. We lost Elizabeth," said Bates.

ABC15 spoke with law enforcement officials about any confusion the new law might cause. Experts say it's simple, if you see a bus stop, you have to stop.

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