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Vehicles Illegally Passing School Buses Is Fairly Common

By Jeanie Lindsay, IPB News | Published on in Crime, Education, Statewide News, Transportation
Monroe County Schools Corporation school bus. (WFIU/WTIU)
Monroe County Schools Corporation school bus. (WFIU/WTIU)

Three children died this week after a vehicle struck them as they crossed the street to board a school bus in Fulton County. While situations like this don’t happen often, bus drivers in Indiana say vehicles passing them illegally is nothing new.

The National Safety Council only counted 119 bus related deaths nationwide in 2016. But President and CEO Debbie Hersman says most of them happen outside the bus, meaning drivers should remain vigilant even when one is closeby.

“A bus can stop to discharge students any time, and there might be kids running to catch a bus, they may be late,” she says.

Drivers going both ways have to stop for school buses when the red lights are on and the stop sign arm is extended – unless there’s a barrier or median dividing the road, then drivers going the opposite direction of a stopped bus can proceed with caution.

But a voluntary survey from the Indiana Department of Education looks at how many drivers illegally pass school buses each year. Responses from the count in 2018 show more than 3,000 vehicles illegally passed stopped school buses in just one day.

Hersman says to prevent that number from rising, sharing information about and enforcing those rules is vital.

“We know that good laws, good education and enforcement can change behavior on our roadways,” she says.

Reports from the Indiana State Police indicate the fourth child injured in Tuesday’s crash remains in the hospital in stable condition.