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A new initiative aims to crack down on stop arm violators while improving bus safety

NOW: A new initiative aims to crack down on stop arm violators while improving bus safety

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TOPEKA, Ind. — A new initiative aims to crack down on bus stop arm violators and improve bus safety.

The LaGrange County Prosecutors Office, LaGrange County Sheriff's Office, Indiana State Excise Police, Shipshewana and Topeka Police Department are ramping up efforts to crack down on drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.

Operation Bus Blitz was unveiled at Westview High School in Topeka on May 1.

Shipshewana, Topeka and LaGrange County Sheriff’s officers will be riding aboard school buses in an attempt to catch drivers who fail to yield to buses.

Officials say unmarked and marked patrols will be stationed near schools.

The initiative follows the fatal accident that killed three children in Fulton County who were attempting to board a school bus last fall.

Chief Deputy Tracy Harker with the LaGrange County Sheriff’s Department said they’ve received a lot of complaints around the issue.

"We have a lot of complaints that come in on US-20, the biggest thing is just people don't slow down, with the amount of traffic that we have that go through here at the speeds that they're traveling,” said Harker. He adds, “We just want to raise awareness, get people to slow down and pay attention. It is a school bus, it’s just kids and we’re trying to keep the safety for the children out there.”

The Westview School Corporation has documented 46 separate cases of vehicles driving past stopped school buses in 2019 alone.

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