The rules of the road when school buses' stop arms are deployed

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It is that time of year again when drivers need to share the road with school buses. Unfortunately, many drivers are not obeying the law.

With a high traffic volume and a high number of school buses, South Bend drivers commit the most violations of any district in our area.

16 News Now hopped on board a South Bend Community School Corporation bus to see the dangers firsthand.

“We're going to show you what our drivers see,” said Latoya King, SBCSC operations supervisor and bus driver. “It's very alarming for a bus driver to be letting a student off that bus and see a car approaching your bus.”

Added safety measures are in place.

“We are rerouting buses to ensure that we are picking up our students curbside so that they don't have to cross busy streets,” Superintendent Dr. Todd Cummings said. “We’re committed to student safety, and every one of our buses has a stop arm camera activated at the beginning of school.”

“So, we'll be able to get license plates in the daytime as well as the nighttime,” Transportation Director Juan Martinez-Legus said. “You're not going to get by one of our South Bend buses. If you do, there will be a follow-up.”

“These cameras help,” South Bend Police Division Chief Eric Crittendon said. “These cameras will see the license plate and sometimes catch the person behind the wheel driving. So, it's going to be hard to dispute, what we can present as evidence to that case.”

Drivers, pay attention. When the red lights are flashing, these motorists must stop in these situations:

All vehicles traveling in both directions on a two-lane road. On a multi-lane road that's paved across, all vehicles must stop from all directions. On a highway divided with a grassy median or a barrier, only the vehicles behind the bus must stop.

Such is the case on Cleveland Road west of State Road 933, where there is a concrete barrier. Traffic on the other side of the barrier does not have to stop.

However, east of State Road 933 on Cleveland Road, it's a different story. The four lanes are not separated by a concrete barrier or grassy median, which means all traffic must stop.

16 News Now conducted a demonstration aboard a school bus. Most of the drivers obeyed the law. However, there was one driver who didn't and was clearly captured by the stop arm camera.

“Slow down when you see those yellow lights flashing,” Martinez-Legus said. “When the red lights come on, when that stop arm comes on, stop for that bus. Take the time. Wait. Keep our children safe.”

Meanwhile, King is keeping an eye out for the children on her bus.

“I’m looking forward to seeing all of our students show up smiling, ready to go. Ready to learn. I’m just eager for the year. I'm very excited to see all of our kids,” King said.