Indiana police agencies stepping up school bus safety enforcement

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FILE – Yellow School Bus in a District Lot Waiting to Depart

INDIANAPOLIS — Governor Holcomb announced Monday that agencies from across the Indiana will be stepping up enforcement to protect students.

In a news release, the governor said over the next couple of months, officers will be positioned along bus stops and routes watching for stop-arm violations and unsafe driving behavior.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are funding the overtime patrols through the state’s Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) program.

“As drivers, we all have a responsibility to make sure students arrive to and from school safely,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Everyone needs to do their part by slowing down and watching for buses. As soon as you see those red lights flashing and stop-arm extended, that means stop.”

The release said more than 200 police agencies will be participating in the spring enforcement campaign which was designed to encourage motorists to stop for school buses.

Routes identified by local bus drivers and school transportation officials will see morning and afternoon patrols. Officers will be focusing on stop-arm violations and unsafe driving behavior such as speeding and distracted driving.

“We still have far too many people speeding and not paying attention to the road,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “One glance at your phone is all it takes to cause a tragedy. Children are unpredictable, so it’s important to stay alert and be prepared to stop at all times.”

Officials are reminding Hoosiers that it’s against the law for motorists to pass a bus that’s stopped and has its red lights flashing and stop-arm extended.

According to law enforcement, this applies to all roads except for motorists on a highway that is divided by a barrier, such as a cable barrier, concrete wall or grassy median. Those motorists are required to stop only if they are traveling in the same direction as the school bus.

“Buses in some school districts are returning to the roadway for the first time in nearly a year after spring break concludes, so it’s especially important to stay alert in those areas,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “We all have a role to play when it comes to school bus safety.”

Click here to learn more about the SAVE program or here for a list of school bus safety tips.

More about the SAVE Program:

Launched in 2019, the Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) program works to provide safe transportation routes for students going to and from school in Indiana. Grants are awarded to law enforcement agencies to conduct high visibility patrols along school bus stops and routes, which are identified by coordinating with local school corporations, bus drivers and other key officials. SAVE is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

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