TIPPECANOE CO., Ind. (WLFI) – “It’s a big problem and it’s getting bigger because we’re growing and we have more buses on the road,” said TSC bus driver Dawn Richard.
Richard says the problem isn’t the buses or even the children riding them, it’s drivers disregarding the school bus stop arm.
“It’s real difficult. Besides watching your speed, watching the children, watching your mirrors and the traffic, there’s a violator that’s going through the stop arm. It’s just a big worry,” said Richard.
Legislators are working on a way to make it easier to catch drivers who ignore a school bus stop arm. A State House Bill would allow cameras to catch drivers passing school buses when stop arms and lights are in use. Schools would then work with law enforcement to review the video and mail a complaint and summons to violators. TSC Operations Manager of Transportation Greg Haltom says the cameras would help prevent future violations.
“I think a lot of people would think twice about running a stop arm with this type of technology in place,” said Haltom.
TSC’s current system requires bus drivers to fill out a form with the details regarding the stop arm violation. Haltom said TSC bus drivers report 30 to 40 stop arm violations monthly, and filling out the paperwork takes time and attention.
“They’re dealing with 60 to 80 kids and they’re focused on the safety of those kids and the safe operation of that vehicle. Getting the plate number off that vehicle is a distant third in their mind,” said Haltom.
The bill is in its third reading and if passed will go on to the senate. Richard said the law would be a benefit to all bus drivers.
“I think it would be a blessing, to not just me, but other drivers. Knowing that there is something out there that is going to slow this act down,” said Richard.