FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): As students head back to the classroom, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department is reminding motorists to stop for school buses or face the consequences.
In a press release they stated that; starting August 1, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department will increase patrols to prevent stop-arm violations, speeding and other forms of reckless driving around school buses and in school zones. The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).
Despite thousands of motorists being cited under the SAVE program, unsafe driving around school buses continues to be a concern, according to state officials.
In April, thousands of bus drivers who participated in a one-day observational survey counted 2,091 stop-arm violations in Indiana. That one-day total, when multiplied by the number of school days, adds up to a potential 376,380 violations throughout the school year.
The data comes from the National School Bus Illegal Passing Driver Survey, which is managed by the Indiana Department of Education in the state. This year, data collection took place on April 25, with 6,665 bus drivers participating from 195 school districts.
During the enforcement period, officers will coordinate with local bus drivers and school transportation officials, with efforts concentrated in the morning and afternoon hours. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of school bus safety and following the law.
Disregarding a school bus stop arm is a Class A Infraction. Violators could pay a fine of up to $10,000, have their license suspended for up to 90 days for the first offense or up to 1 year for the second.
If the person disregarding a school bus stop arm causes bodily injury to a person, the offense becomes a Class 6 felony. Violators face anywhere from six months to two and a half years in jail. If someone is killed, the offense becomes a Class 5 felony, carrying a sentence between one year and six years.