School bus safety, rules on the road

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SOUTH BEND Thousands of Michiana kids are heading back to school, and that means drivers will need to take extra precaution on the road. During the school year, school speed limits go into effect during specific hours of the day. Plus, some districts have gone cell-phone free.

Indiana State Police say the most common mistake on the road has to do with the bus stop arm. When a bus puts out the stop arm, all drivers must stop. That includes drivers going the opposite direction on a four lane highway, if there is no grassy or concrete median.

"All buses are required to have yellow flashers up top next to the red. When those go on, that means the bus is about ready to send out its stop arm. If you see that, slow down and expect to stop," said Trooper Travis Harrold.

In South Bend, there are 18 stop arm cameras on buses so far. They plan to install 36 by September. The cameras are motion sensors, and they use a 3-camera system to photograph the driver, license plate and any activity near the camera.

Schools are also taking extra precaution when it comes to the bus itself. All buses in the state are inspected by police. A trooper will check lights, brakes, tires and everything in and under the bus. Buses 12 yeras and older are inspected twice a year. If a bus does not pass inspection, it must be fixed within 30 days and be re-inspected by the trooper.

Parents can monitor school bus activity from home on the Indiana State Police website .

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