Indiana school bus safety program nets nearly 2,700 tickets

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Indiana police departments issued nearly 2,700 tickets and 1,400 warnings for unsafe driving around school bus stops and routes during a two-month enforcement program, state officials announced Thursday.

The program funded additional patrols by nearly 40 police departments aimed at improving school bus safety, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute said. Those citations issued during the first two months of the 2019-20 school year included 453 bus stop-arm violations and 1,239 for speeding.

The patrol period came after bus stop safety gained greater attention after three children were fatally struck in October 2018 while crossing a highway to board their school bus near the northern Indiana city of Rochester. The family of those siblings backed a push for new state law approved last year that toughened penalties for passing stopped school buses.

The driver of the pickup truck who struck the children was sentenced in December to four years in prison. 

A combined $380,000 went to the Indiana police agencies through a federal grant distributed by the Criminal Justice Institute.

The patrol program was the state’s first such effort and involved school officials, bus drivers and police agencies identifying problem areas and routes, said Devon McDonald, the state agency’s executive director.

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