WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (WANE)–The Columbia City police department is gearing up to implement more safety measures for students riding school buses.

On Wednesday, the police department announced that there will be officers positioned along bus routes in the morning and the afternoon to be on the watch for stop-arm violations, speeding and other forms of reckless driving. This comes as part of State’s Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) program, which aims to prevent reckless driving in school zones.

If drivers disregard a school bus stop arm, they could pay a fine of up to $10,000, have their license suspended for up to 90 days for the first offense or up to 1 year for a second offense.

“Every time you see a bus, slow down, be ready to stop and watch for children,” said Chief Parrett. “If the overhead lights flash red and the stop arm extends, you are required by law to stop. Under no circumstances, should you speed up in an attempt to beat the bus. That’s beyond reckless and puts every child boarding or exiting the bus in danger.”

The department is urging drivers to slow down and never pass a bus that has it’s lights flashing and the stop arm extended, but with one exception. On highways divided by a physical barrier, vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop.

“School buses have several highly visible indicators to let drivers know when to stop,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “The only way you’re going to miss those—the activated stop arm and flashing lights—is if you’re on your phone or not paying attention to the road. That choice can be deadly.”