Hundreds illegally pass school buses daily

Many districts in our area are calling the illegal passing of school buses a chronic problem.

Posted: May 6, 2018 10:58 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Thousands of drivers are ignoring red flashing lights and passing schools buses as they are picking up and dropping off kids.

Many districts in our area are calling the illegal passing of school buses a chronic problem.

On April 24, at least 1916 people passed stopped school buses in Indiana.

However, not every district has reported their data to the Indiana Department of Education, so that number could be higher.

In Allen County, 234 passed buses picking up or dropping off children, 156 of those were in Fort Wayne Community Schools.

Drivers who illegally pass these school buses at bus stops could be fined up to $10,000 dollars.

Parents who put their kids on a bus said they're shocked so many people are putting kids in danger.

"It is a scary thing when it comes to our children getting hit," said Nate Jehl.

Jehl was one of several FWCS parents surprised every bus in the district has at least one person not stopping at bus stops.

"I have two daughters. That's something you take advantage that your kids are able to get to school safely. I would be devastated if one of my kids would be hurt just on the way to school," Jehl said.

"It's pretty dangerous what the community is doing to ignore these school bus signs," said Conrad Sellig.

Sellig's kids used to get on the bus at one of the worst stops for violations.

"It seems like a very high number it's just a matter of time before something truly tragic happens," he said.

Fort Wayne Community Schools Transportation Safety Director, Shannon Warner, said many people don't stop because they simply don't understand the laws.

"It's just like a traffic light. People don't understand when we have our stop arm out, kids are out on the street. They could be crossing the street," said Warner.

Everyone is required to stop for school buses.

The only exception is if the bus is on the opposite side of a concrete or grassy median.

"It's for the safety of the students. They don't pay attention. They don't look. They see their bus, the see the stop arm, and that's when they know to go get on the bus," Warner said.

Warner said the district does what it can to help keep kids safe, including making sure kids don't cross busy streets and training kids when it is safe to cross.

"Let them know not everyone is going to stop so they do look for cars before they get on the bus," she said.

Fort Wayne Community Schools doesen't have cameras on the outside of the bus to catch these violations.

However many districts do, including East Noble, which only had two violations on April 24.

The East Noble transportation director told FOX 55 they've seen a significant decrease in stop arm runners since they installed the cameras.

Something Jehl hopes FWCS will consider.

"That will help funding our bus program with the tickets and violations handed out," Jehl said.

If everyone who passed a FWCS on April 24 were fined the maximum, it would generate $1.5 million.

Number of stop arm violations by district
Adams Central Community Schools - No data available

Blackford County School Corporation - 0 violations

Central Noble Community Schools - No data available

DeKalb Central United School District - 0 violations
DeKalb County Easter Community School District - 1 violation, 15 buses reporting

East Allen County Schools - 70 violations, 109 buses reporting
East Noble School Corporation - 2 violations, 37 buses reporting

Fort Wayne Community Schools - 158 violations, 142 buses reporting
Fremont Community Schools - No data available

Garrett-Keyser-Butler Community Schools - 0 violations

Hamilton Community Schools - 0 violations
Huntington County Community School Corporation - 1 violation, 59 buses reporting

Lakeland School Corporation - No data available

Manchester Community Schools - 1 violation, 17 buses reporting

MSD Bluffton-Harrison - 0 violations
MSD Steuben County - 9 violations, 30 buses reporting
MSD Wabash County - No data available

North Adams Community Schools - 3 violations, 18 buses reporting
Northwest Allen County Schools - 6 violations

Prarie Heights Community Schools - 0 violations

Smith-Green Community Schools - 1 violation, 11 buses reporting
South Adams Community Schools - No data available
Southern Wells Community Schools - No data available
Southwest Allen Community Schools - No data available

Wabash City Schools - No data available
Warsaw Community Schools - No data available
Wawasee Community Schools - 1 violation, 37 buses reporting
West Noble Community Schools - 2 violations, 33 buses reporting
Westview School Corporation - No data available
Whitley County Schools - No data available
Whitko Community Schools - No data available

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