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IMPD stepping up patrols to prevent stop-arm violations

A school bus extends a stop arm. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is reminding motorists to stop for school buses or face the consequences.

IMPD is increasing 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.

“When a school bus’s red lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended, drivers must come to a complete stop,” said IMPD Lieutenant Michael DeHart. “This is not a suggestion — it’s the law.”

Despite thousands of motorists being cited under the Stop-Arm Violation Enforcement (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. In 2023, data collection took place on April 25, with 6,665 bus drivers participating from 195 school districts.

“It is disheartening that we still have people who are willing to put the lives of students and bus drivers at risk,” said Devon McDonald, executive director for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. “Law enforcement cannot be everywhere, so it is up to drivers to do the right thing and exercise caution around school buses. Students’ lives depend on it.”