FWCS Encourages School Bus Safety

By BROOKE WELCH | bwelch@wfft.com

Published 08/21 2014 02:31PM

Updated 08/21 2014 02:42PM

Thousands of children across our viewing area are now back in school and that means they're getting on the bus or walking to school everyday.

The Fort Wayne Community School system alone transports 25,000 children on a daily basis.

WFFT's Brooke Welch spoke with officials that want to remind everyone to watch out for school buses and crosswalks.

17,000 children in the United States found themselves in the hospital last year due to a school bus related accident.  20% of school bus deaths are caused by motorists not paying attention.

Bobby Lucas has driven a school bus for 6 years and says it's a big problem.

"I think that's frustrating to most bus drivers because actually the kids, their lives are involved because when you see someone running a stop arm that might mean someone's life."

Last year in Indiana, bus drivers reported over 2,600 instances of vehicles violating the stop arm.

Frank Jackson is the Director of Transportation at Fort Wayne Community Schools and says, "The first thing they want to look for is the yellow flashing lights and the yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is about to make a stop to pick up children.  Then the lights will turn red, and that indicates that the bus is going to come to a stop."

If you decide to run a stop arm, it will cost you big bucks.  Sergeant Ron Galaviz with the Indiana State Police says, "Stop arm violation in the state of Indiana is an infraction and it is punishable by a $10,000 fine."

Since running a stop arm is an infraction, a bus driver can press charges without a police officer seeing the incident.

"School bus drivers are our number on compliant and they are vigilant and they are watching because they are sitting up at a higher vantage point.  They are watching for these dangers inherent in and around school buses and school bus stops."

Officials just want everyone to slow down and pay attention.

"Makes you feel, um how is it that people can be so unconcerned about the lives of children.  Especially when they see a bus stopped, and most people have knowledge about the fact that they should stop around buses."

With thousands of children being transported in our viewing area daily, officials just want to remind everyone to be safe and follow all legal laws around school buses so that everyone can have a safe and happy school year.

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