A three week “Traffic Enforcement Campaign“ focusing on drivers who pass stopped school buses, resulted in numerous citations.
Lt. Tony Maze said 64 citations were issued in total throughout Allen County.
On the first day of the campaign, March 4th, officers were on watch at the entrance of the Canterbury Green Apartment Complex. It is a location school bus drivers had expressed concerns about to Fort Wayne Community Schools officials.
In a matter of fewer than two hours, at least six people violated bus stop protocols. Those people were stopped and issued a ticket.
But more than giving out tickets, Lt. Maze said the blitz served as a teaching moment.
“There was 64 that we stopped and educated that you can’t pass a school bus when the stop arm is out,“ Maze said.
Fort Wayne Community Schools worked with FWPD on the blitz.
FWCS Spokeswoman, Krista Stockman, said the 64 citations provide more proof of a problem they already knew existed.
That is why an effort is underway between FWCS and the three other Allen County public school districts to craft an educational campaign and keep raising awareness.
“We don’t have all this worked out yet,“ Stockman explained. “But, you know, we are looking at possibly some videos, billboards, looking at those areas that we do see a lot of violations and maybe finding some way to target that specific area.“
Whatever it looks like, Stockman said the goal is to have a campaign underway this fall.
In the meantime, Stockman said bus drivers appreciated the enforcement and have stepped up how often they document stop arm violations.
Stockman told WANE 15 recent tragedies in the state have brought awareness to the issue – now it is their turn to ramp up efforts to make drivers more aware of the law.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in Fort Wayne that wants to see that kind of tragedy happen here, so we just want to make people aware, encourage them to slow down and pay attention,“ added Stockman.
According to Indiana state law, drivers must stop if a school bus has its stop arm extended and red lights flashing.
A bill that would increase penalties for drivers who violate school bus stop laws recently passed the House.
It now goes back to the Senate for consideration.