Indiana lawmaker to introduce bill that would stiffen penalties for school bus stop arm violations

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indiana state lawmaker has finished a draft of legislation that would stiffen penalties for school bus stop arm violations.

Republican state Sen. Eric Bassler shared his drafted bill with FOX59 on Friday. He plans to introduce it to lawmakers in January.

Under the bill, those who fail to stop for buses with their signs out would be charged with a Class C misdemeanor instead of a Class A infraction. That means violators could be arrested and spend time in jail.

Right now in Indiana, drivers are given a traffic ticket if they do not obey a school bus stop arm. Thousands in the state still fail to stop when a school bus is picking up or dropping off students.

Sen. Bassler believes a misdemeanor charge would deter drivers from going past a stopped school bus.

The proposed legislation would also allow school bus drivers, bus monitors and school crossing guards to file a sworn affidavit if they see a violation. Under current law, an officer must witness the violation to ticket someone.

Sen. Bassler introduced a similar bill a few years ago, but it wasn’t successful. He hopes lawmakers will reconsider this year. Hoosiers began to call for stiffer penalties after three children were killed at their bus stop in Rochester in October. The driver who allegedly struck the students, Alyssa Shepherd, has been charged with three counts of reckless homicide and one misdemeanor count of passing a school bus causing injury.

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