Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the nation’s toughest school zone traffic statute into law in a ceremony in Sacramento today. Called “The Harry Kuntz Law” after Harry Kuntz, a seven year old elementary school student who ran into the street in front of a car estimated to be traveling one mile per hour over the speed limit.
The death of Harry Kuntz by Mildred Flossberg, a 72 year old grandmother driving a 1978 Dodge Aspen, caused an international outcry for tougher school zone laws. The passion surrounding Harry Kuntz’s death even required that riot police be called to his funeral. Unable to prosecute Flossberg to the satisfaction of the lynch mob outside the courthouse where she was arraigned, the tough new law was proposed.
Any driver in California caught speeding in a school zone or passing a school bus with flashing red lights would automatically have to surrender their license to the citing police officer. If convicted of the offense, the driver would pay a $10,000 fine and receive a mandatory one year prison sentence. Upon being released from prison, the driver would be entered into a public registry akin to the sex offender registry. There would be a mandatory notification of all residences in the neighborhood of the registered school zone offender living there. The registered offender would be prohibited from living or driving within a 1,000 feet of a school, day care center, or park.
The ACLU has promised to fight the constitutionality of The Harry Kuntz Law. A spokesperson for the ACLU not only criticized the law as Draconian, but also made fun of its name.