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STATEWIDE — Your child’s safety is a top priority for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. That’s why the institute is kicking off this school year with the Stop Arm Violation Enforcement campaign.

The campaign, also called SAVE, is all about making sure your child is safe from the time they step onto a school bus, to the time that same bus brings them back home. To help with SAVE, the institute has asked for the help of over two-hundred law enforcement agencies from across Indiana.

“So they’ll be out and around patrolling around school buses, school zones, watching for stop arm violations, speeding and other forms of dangerous, reckless driving,” says Devon McDonald, Executive Director of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

McDonald has been with the institute for over ten years. He’s watched the number of stop arm violations increase over the last few years.

“Just like this past year,” McDonald explains, “when DOE [Department of Education] did their one day survey, they had a little over 2,000 school bus stop arm violations in a single day.”

McDonald clarifies that number is actually down from the numbers produced before the COVID-19 pandemic, but there’s a catch: that last report was filed with significantly less bus drivers participating. That’s because several bus drivers have quit their jobs out of frustration over watching people speed past their buses without any regard to anyone’s life.

And that’s the point, says McDonald.

“It poses a great safety risk to not only the kids, that’s obviously the priority here, but also to other motorists in general,” says McDonald.

McDonald says the key to success is for drivers to just respect stopped buses and the children on board. Stop, have patience, and put away any distractions.

“If you were a parent, and you had kids getting on the school bus, you wouldn’t want someone to blow past the stop arm. Same for you,” says McDonald.

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 1 year for the second.