LaPorte County police will be stepping up patrols this week for a traffic safety project called “Operation Stop Arm”.
Sheriff’s deputies have partnered with Michigan City officers and Indiana State Police Troopers to make drivers more aware of school bus loading and unloading during this National School Bus Safety Week.
Driver who disregard stopped buses with stop arms extended and flashing lights can be cited on a Class A infraction of arm signal device: duty to obey. That carries a fine of up to $10,000. A driver can be arrested for a Class B misdemeanor offense of reckless driving if the driver recklessly passes a school bus while loading or unloading students. That offense carries up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
LaPorte officers urge drivers to be patient and to be aware around stopped or slowing school buses. One Indiana child was killed in the 2012-2013 school year when a driver was distracted by a cell phone and struck an eight-year-old child while the child was boarding the bus.
Officers and troopers will have zero tolerance with drivers who disregard stop arms and lights activated on a school bus. Violators will be ticketed or arrested.