Stop means stop: Area police continue to crack down on school bus safety

(WNDU) - Just weeks into the new school year, Michiana police still see people violating school zone speed limits and bus stop arms that are extended.

"I think the last number was 72 [cases] that we're reviewing right now in the past week and a half that have ran school bus arms," South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski said Tuesday on 16 Morning News Now. "Once we vet those [stop arm camera] videos and match that plate number, people are going to be getting tickets in their mailboxes. Zero tolerance."

For the first three weeks of the 2019-2020 school year in the city of Elkhart, police issued 21 enforcement actions, meaning they either wrote tickets, gave warnings or arrested people for violating school bus stop arms.

For Indiana State Police-Bremen Post, troopers have handed out 41 stop arm violations to drivers this school year across Elkhart, St. Joseph, Marshall and Kosciusko counties.

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Office tells 16 News Now that 28 drivers have been ticketed for stop arm violations since Jan. 1, 2019.

Since the new school year, St. Joseph County police report issuing three citations to drivers who passed a school bus with a stop arm extended. Sixty-five citations have been given to drivers for speeding in a school zone.

"[Drivers are] just really not realizing what time of the day it is. They could be on lunch break and not knowing that school is getting out between 3 and 4 o'clock in the afternoon," stated Cpl. Aris Lee of the St. Joseph County Police Department.

16 News Now continues its Stop Means Stop campaign, an effort to ensure drivers obey school bus and school zone laws. To obtain a "Stop Means Stop" yard sign, click here for a list of locations where one can be obtained.