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School bus stop arm violations a growing problem

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Posted at 6:31 PM, May 21, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS — Thousands of drivers were reported disregarding stopped school buses across Indiana. Indiana logged more than 2,500 stop arm violations in one single day.

On one single day in April this year, Indianapolis Public Schools reported a total of 353 cars ignored the school bus stop arm. In Perry Township, the second highest district with violations, reported 217.

"Every day in Indiana, we have stop arm violations on the school buses," Patrick Murphy, Perry Township Schools Transportation Director, said.

At the request of the Department of Education, nearly 200 school districts in our state participated in a survey to have their bus drivers count how many cars illegally drove past them on April 23.

But for Perry Township Schools, this is something they keep track of every day.

"The main roads: 37, 31, Madison, Thompson; all of those areas are very problematic with the drivers going around the buses," Murphy said. "Some of the most dangerous situations happen in our neighborhoods, though."

MSD of Wayne Township says the same thing, which reported 156 violations.

Drivers get confused on busier roads like Rockville Road and Washington Street, where there's no divider at times, and all four lanes are supposed to stop.

Because of this, Wayne Township has opted to install stop arm cameras on all of their new buses coming this fall.

Perry and IPS say they work closely with law enforcement to raise awareness.

"Anytime a driver reports a violation, they have a form that they can come into the office and fill out, and as soon as they fill this out, it goes right in here, and we send it right over to the police department," Murphy said.

IPS says they run more than 300 bus routes across the city every day. That's hundreds of students at risk of getting hurt all because of driver negligence or inattention.

Other districts, such as Carmel Clay Schools reported 63 violations that day; Hamilton Southeastern had 87; Warren Township had 117; both Lawrence and Washington Township had about 100 each.

"It just has to all be about safety," Murphy said. "And I want to make sure that they understand that buses are carrying children and if they have any question at all, just make the stop."

RTV6 sifted through a lot of data on Tuesday to get some answers. You can see those numbers here.