“Everyday at somewhere within Vigo County a driver has ran a stop arm on one of our buses,” Mullinex said.
Current school corporation buses don’t have cameras to catch those who run stop-arms. So Tuesday morning, a special unit within the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, known as the Vigo County Criminal Activity Task Force or VCCAT, patrolled U.S. 40 to find violators of stop-arms.
“We had some undercover cars and we basically just followed the buses and we’re looking for violators,” said Lt. Scott Brown, Vigo County Sheriff’s Department.
The law says if a highway or road is not divided by a physical barrier, such as U.S. 40, then all traffic on both sides of the road must stop if a school bus stop arm is extended. Mullinex says bus drivers try their best to let other motorists know when they are making a stop.
“We do everything in our power to let the other motorists know what our intentions are with flashing lights and flashing headlights,” Mullinex said.
Although the signals, deputies say some still disregard school buses. Tuesday, one person was cited for not following the stop arm rule during the Sheriff Department’s special patrol. Lt. Brown says breaking this law comes with consequences.
“Most of them are an infraction. It is a ticket, you’ll have to pay a fine for it. You’ll have points on your license,” Brown said.
While the number of drivers breaking the stop arm law might seem low for one day, Brown says, these types of patrols are to prevent kids from getting hurt at bus stops like they have in many other places.
“This just brings to light the seriousness of it and how important it is. We would never want something like that to happen in our community,” Brown said.
“Don’t be rushed, it’s not worth saving that extra minute or two and potentially injuring one of our kids,” Mullinex said.
Deputies say in addition to one ticket for violating the stop arm law, several others were ticketed for other infractions including speeding.
According to the Terre Haute Clerk’s Office a fine for passing a stop arm could be a maximum of $5,000.
Lt. Brown says there will be more special patrols for stop arm violators in the future.