Proposal cracking down on bus stop violators advances

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INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 3, 2015) - State lawmakers have advanced a new proposal to keep your kids safe at the bus stop, and protect them from violators who don’t stop for the school bus stop arms.

Recently, a FOX59 investigation turned up hundreds of complaints. We even put a camera on a school bus and caught drivers in the act, going right past the stop arms.

But in most of these cases, police can't do anything about it.

And now one state lawmaker wants to change that.

“If someone violates that stop, in order to be cited, a police officer would actually have to witness that violation,” said State Sen. Eric Bassler, R-Washington, who has written a bill that would make it easier for police to cite bus stop violators.

“For example, if a school bus driver were to be a witness (or) if a camera were to catch the incident or some other witness, then an officer could do an investigation and as longs as he or she had probably cause he or she could issue a citation against the driver,” said Bassler.

A Senate committee approved that bill unanimously on Tuesday, advancing it to the full Senate for its consideration.

“The committee was surprised at how big of a problem this is,” said Bassler. “As was I when it was brought to my attention.”

Bassler said he was hopeful the bill could soon become law, after hearing input from dozens of police officer, school resource officers, and parents.

“Police officers have expressed frustration they’ve had when they’ve been told that someone has violated the stop arm but there’s nothing they can do about it because they didn’t truly witness it,” Bassler said. “And now they’ll be able to take action and ultimately that leads to better child safety.”