Johnson County police conducting extra patrols near schools

With students back in school, the Johnson County Law Enforcement Coalition is increasing patrols to prevent stop-arm violations, speeding and other forms of reckless driving around school buses and in school zones.

Local departments join over 200 police agencies across the state for the back-to-school Stop Arm Violation Enforcement campaign. Police will be working overtime with funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, according to a press release from the coalition.

“Our two biggest concerns this time of year are drivers not paying attention to the road and speeding,” Sheriff Duane Burgess said in the release. “Most of the stop-arm violations we encounter stem from those actions, and drivers need to be held accountable. Help us keep kids safe by slowing down, putting away the distractions, and stopping for buses.”

Officers will be patrolling in the morning and afternoon, with the goal to raise awareness for school bus safety, coalition officials say.

Drivers should slow down and prepare to stop when the overhead lights on a school bus are flashing yellow and should stop when the rights are red, coalition officials say.

In most cases, all drivers must stop for a school bus, however, when a bus stops on a divided highway only traffic driving the same direction as a school bus must stop. Motorists should also follow posted speed limits, avoid distractions and watch for children, coalition officials say.

Disregarding a school bus stop arm is a Class A Infraction. Violators could pay a fine of up to $10,000, and have their license suspended for up to 90 days for the first offense or up to 1 year for the second, Indiana law says.