Police Urge Drivers to Stop Illegal School Bus Passing

(Franklin/Ripley Counties, IN) – The Franklin/Ripley County Traffic Safety Partnership is reminding motorists to stop for school buses or face the consequences

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Batesville Police Department will increase patrols to prevent stop-arm violations, speeding and other forms of reckless driving around school buses and in school zones through the month of April as part of the Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) campaign.

The overtime patrols are funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

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

Despite thousands of motorists being cited under the SAVE program, state officials say unsafe driving around school buses continue to be a concern.

“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, ICJI Executive Director. “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.”

During the enforcement blitz, officers will coordinate with local bus drivers and school transportation officials, with efforts concentrated in the morning and afternoon hours. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of school bus safety and following the law.

“Passing a stopped school bus is against the law and could have fatal consequences. Nothing is worth the risk,” said Franklin County Sheriff Peter Cates. “We need every driver to pay attention, because children’s lives are on the line.”

Disregarding a school bus stop arm is a Class A Infraction. 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 one year for the second.

If the person disregarding a school bus stop arm causes bodily injury to a person, the offense becomes a Class 6 felony. Violators face anywhere from six months to two-and-a-half years in jail. If someone is killed, the offense becomes a Class 5 felony, carrying a sentence between one year and six years.