The Shelby County Traffic Safety Partnership is ramping up enforcement this spring to protect students going to and from school. 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 overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the state’s Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) program, which was developed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute in 2019.
“Disregarding a school bus stop arm is a very dangerous and serious offense,” said Sheriff Louie Koch. “We want students to arrive to school and return home safely, which is why we’re asking all motorists to drive cautiously around buses or face the consequences.”
The department joins more than 200 around the state for the spring enforcement campaign, designed to encourage motorists to stop for school buses. High-visibility patrols will be conducted in the morning and afternoon along routes identified by local bus drivers and school transportation officials.
While officers will be focusing on stop-arm violations, they will also be on the lookout for any 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.”
In Indiana, it’s against the law for motorists to pass a bus that’s stopped and has its red lights flashing and stop-arm extended. This applies to all roads, with one exception. Motorists who are on a highway that is divided by a barrier, such as a cable barrier, concrete wall or grassy median, 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.”