FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — Local police cracked down on school bus safety violators Monday morning.
Fort Wayne police monitored an area where they’ve received a number of complaints about drivers not stopping for school bus stop arms.
Police set up a stakeout at Canterbury Boulevard and St. Joe Road for the traffic enforcement campaign.
It’s illegal to pass a school bus with red lights flashing and when the stop arm is extended, and state money paid for officers to target those violations.
Officer Michael Joyner tells us it’s time for these incidents to stop.
“There’s no pat you on the back and say don’t do it again, we’re going to effectively enforce this,” Joyner said. “People know better, and it’s time this madness stops.”
Officer Joyner who says the campaign is due to the tragic accident only a few months ago in Rochester. Two six-year-olds and a nine-year-old were hit and killed by a driver as they crossed a highway to board their bus, which had its stop arm down and its lights flashing.
The state Senate unanimously passed a measure that would increase the penalty to a class C misdemeanor and suspend your license for 90 days for not stopping for an extended bus arm.
The penalties go up from there if the driver passes the stop arm recklessly, or injures or kills someone.
A House committee will debate the measure on Wednesday.
Remember, unless there’s a concrete or grass median in the middle, all lanes of traffic — in both directions — must stop for a stopped school bus.
Police departments will continue their enforcements in the coming weeks.
Reporter Corinne Rose contributed to this story.
The parents of the kids have since lobbied in Indianapolis for changes and the creation of new laws which would allow for tougher penalties for violators, allow school districts to petition for slower speeds in school zones, and not allow kids to cross highways to board buses.