Data shows school bus laws rarely enforced

INDIANAPOLIS –  After three kids were struck and killed while walking to the school bus Tuesday in Fulton County, Call 6 is looking into what law enforcement agencies are doing to enforce school bus laws.

Each day, more than 16,000 school buses help get students to and from school. According to data from the Indiana Department of Education, more than 3,000 drivers have violated the state’s school bus stop arm law.

According to the state law, it’s illegal to pass a school bus from either direction when the bus’s red lights are flashing and the stop arm is out unless there is a concrete or grass divider between lanes.

Those who are caught violating the law and issued a ticket, it can cost you up to $10,000. If an officer determines that you were reckless, it can become a misdemeanor charge.

Data obtained by Call 6 found that the law is rarely enforced. Some cities, like the City of Bloomington, only issued one bus stop violation ticket in 2017.

Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine said the law requires police to personally see someone violating the law before they can write the ticket.

Officers can’t just take a witness or bus driver’s word to issue a ticket.

"We almost have to be in the perfect position to see that that stop arm is out to see the relation, the location of that car, as they're passing the bus,” Perrine said. "Safety of our children, and specifically the children on school buses, falls on the hands of everyone.”

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