DATE: Thursday, March 31, 2022
SUBJECT: Blitz 113 – Stop Arm Violation Enforcement
CONTACT: Lt. Matt Corn
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding

Deputies will be out in full force this spring to ensure that students remain safe when traveling to and from school. Over the next couple of weeks, deputies will be positioned along bus routes and in school zones where they will be on high alert for stop-arm violations, speeding and other forms of reckless driving.

The overtime patrols are part of the state’s Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) program and funded with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

“Anytime you see a school bus slowdown in traffic, be ready to stop and watch for children,” said Sheriff Wedding. If the overhead lights flash red and the stop arm extends, you are required by law to stop. Under no circumstances should anyone speed up in an attempt to beat the bus as this could put precious lives in danger.”

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office joins more than 200 police agencies for the spring enforcement campaign, as part of an ongoing effort to prevent reckless driving in school zones and around buses. Last year alone, more than 2,700 drivers were cited for stop-arm violations by Indiana law enforcement, according to ICJI.

To address this, deputies will be conducting high-visibility patrols in the morning and afternoon hours along routes identified in cooperation with local bus drivers and school transportation officials. As part of the campaign, the department is urging motorists to slow down, pay attention to the road and to never pass a bus that has its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. This applies to all roadways with one exception. On highways divided by a physical barrier, such as a concrete wall or grassy median, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop.

“You’ll never regret playing it safe, but you will regret driving past a stopped bus and injuring someone’s child,” said Robert Duckworth, ICJI Traffic Safety Director. “These are people who have their whole lives ahead of them. No hurry is worth the possibility of robbing someone of their future or a family of their child.”

Disregarding a school bus stop arm is a Class A Infraction and a serious offense. 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).

Click here for school bus safety tips.