Indiana State Police urge motorists to obey school bus stop arms

INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) In just a matter of days thousands of children will be heading back to class and many of them will be getting there by school bus. Yet each year bus drivers report thousands of instances of motorists ignoring stop arms, putting students in danger.

Indiana State Police have issued a reminder about when motorists are required to obey school bus flashing lights and stop arms. Stop arm violations may be more common that you might think.

In 2016 an annual one day survey of 8,272 school bus drivers in Indiana conducted by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services reported 2,954 stop arm violations.

Just about half of the state’s bus drivers took part in the survey. Michael LaRocco, of the Office of School Transportation with the Indiana Department of Education, told NewsChannel 15 that only about 10 percent of the violators were cited by police.

So what exactly is the law? According to Indiana State Police, when approaching a school bus, from any direction which is stopped with its flashing red lights activated and its stop arm extended, motorists are required to STOP, even on multiple lane highways.

The exception involves highways that are divided by a barrier or unimproved median. Examples would be a concrete barrier, a cable barrier or a grass median. On those roads, only motorists traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop.

Violators face a Class “A” infraction which is punishable by a maximum fine of up to $10,000.