School bus stop

File photo

Police in Monon and Francesville will be on the lookout for people who don’t stop for school buses that are stopped and have its stop-arm extended.

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the results of the increased school bus safety patrols that were conducted last fall by Indiana law enforcement agencies.

During the two-month mobilization, officers issued 1,553 warnings and 1,701 citations. Of those, 201 were for stop-arm violations.

The extra patrols were funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the state’s Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) program. The initiative was developed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute in 2019 to provide safe transportation routes for Hoosier students.

“Making sure that students can go to and from school safely is a top priority, but it requires cooperation from the motoring public,” Holcomb said. “Every driver has a responsibility to pay attention to the road and drive cautiously around buses, in school zones and areas where children may be present.”

All told, 2,481 additional patrols were conducted along bus stops and routes, which were identified by coordinating with local bus drivers and school transportation officials.

In addition to stop-arm violations, officers cited 852 drivers for speeding, 112 for driving with a suspended license and 94 for not wearing a seat belt.

“Driving past a stopped school bus is not only illegal, it’s a matter of life or death,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI executive director. “Motorists need to slow down, put away the distractions and watch for buses at all times. Lives depend on it.”

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: On multi-lane roads divided by a physical barrier, vehicles traveling the opposite direction of the bus may proceed with due caution.

SAVE patrols are scheduled to resume this spring for schools that are meeting in person. They were put on hold last March due to the pandemic.

ICJI is currently accepting applications for the next round of SAVE grant funding from Indiana law enforcement agencies. Applications are due by noon Feb. 26.

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