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Local police to enforce school bus safety

Connersville Police Department is joining several law enforcement agencies across Indiana in a back-to-school enforcement program which will partner them with the Fayette County School Corp. transportation department to enforce the stop arms on school buses. Expect to see increased patrols around school bus stops and routes as well as at public/private schools when children are being picked up or dropped off.

“Public safety, especially our children, is our number one priority,” said CPD Lt. Ryan Sherwood, in a news release. “We will be patrolling all of our county school zones and bus routes this year. Law enforcement officers throughout the city and county will be watching for unsafe driving behavior, checking for speed violations in school zones, monitoring bus routes for safety issues and enforcing school bus stop arm violations.”

Passing a school bus with its stop arm extended will result in a ticket or arrest, losing your driver’s license, and paying a hefty fine. “Even if you don’t get pulled over immediately, you should expect a court summons in the mail because school buses are now equipped with high resolution cameras which will capture picture and video of you and your license plate as you illegally pass the bus,” said Sherwood. “School bus drivers and crossing guards are also empowered by law to report violations which will also result in tickets being sent in the mail.”

Indiana law makes the reckless passing of a school bus with the stop arm signal device extended a misdemeanor crime which is punishable by jail time, fines, and suspension of your driver’s license.

Overtime patrols are supported with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration funds distributed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

– Connersville Police Dept.

Tips for a safe season

• Utilize the proper restraint systems in your vehicle. 

• Keep your speed to a minimum and pay extra attention in and around school zones and near school bus loading areas.

• When a school bus stops and a red stop arm or flashing red lights appear, children are boarding or exiting the bus. Be on the lookout for children crossing the street even after the bus has moved on. Look for and follow the directions of all crossing guards around all schools.

• No cell phone use in the school zones while operating a vehicle and no texting at any time while operating a vehicle.

• Encourage children getting on and off school buses to be mindful of surrounding traffic, because the traffic may not be watching for them.

• Give yourself plenty of time. Do not let the frustration of running late compromise the good driving decisions you make.

• Watch for children walking or biking who may not be paying attention to their surroundings. Call 911 to report dangerous driving situations.