School Bus Hometown News

INDIANAPOLIS – The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. Head’s SB 2 on school bus safety.  The bill does the following:

  • increases the penalty, from a Class A infraction to a Class C misdemeanor, for an individual who fails to stop when a school bus’s stop arm is extended
  • provides that the court shall suspend the person’s driving privileges: (1) for 90 days; or (2) if the person has committed at least one previous school bus arm offense, for one year
  • increases the penalty, from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor, for an individual who recklessly passes a school bus when its stop arm is extended
  • increases the penalty, from a Class A misdemeanor to School bus safety
  • increases the penalty, from a Class A infraction to a Class C misdemeanor, for an individual who fails to stop when a school bus’s stop arm is extended
  • provides that the court shall suspend the person’s driving privileges: (1) for 90 days; or (2) if the person has committed at least one previous school bus arm offense, for one year
  • increases the penalty, from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor, for an individual who recklessly passes a school bus when its stop arm is extended
  • increases the penalty, from a Class A misdemeanor to a Level 6 felony, for an individual who recklessly passes a school bus when its stop arm is extended if the action results in injury
  • provides that if an individual is convicted of recklessly passing a school bus causing bodily injury to a person, the individual may be fined not more than $20,000
  • provides that the court shall suspend the driving privileges of a person who recklessly passes a school bus when its stop arm is extended: (1) for 90 days; or (2) if the person has committed at least one previous school bus arm offense, for one year
  • provides that a person who has the person’s license suspended may not obtain specialized driving privileges
  • provides that on or before September 1, 2019, and each September 1 thereafter, each school corporation, charter school, or accredited nonpublic school that provides transportation for students must review each school’s school bus routes and school bus safety policies to improve the safety of students and adults
  • provides that the state school bus committee, in consultation with the department of education (department), shall develop and post on the department’s Internet web site school bus safety guidelines or best practices
  • provides that the department, in consultation with the department of transportation, shall include on the department’s Internet web site information on how an individual or school may petition to reduce maximum speed limits in areas necessary to ensure that students are safely loaded onto or unloaded from a school bus
  • provides that when a school bus is operated on a: (1) U.S. route or state route, the driver may not load or unload a student at a location that requires the student to cross a roadway unless no other safe alternatives are available; and (2) street or highway other than a U.S. route or state route, the driver shall load and unload a student as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable

The committee amended the bill by consent to:

  • provide that school corporations and nonpublic schools may enter into agreements with third parties to administer camera enforcement of school bus stop arm regulations
  • provide: (1) for civil penalties that may be assessed; and (2) that points may be assessed under the bureau of motor vehicles’ point system; for violations of regulations enforced by camera enforcement.
  • require that 25% of the amount of a civil penalty collected for a violation of a school bus stop arm violation that is enforced by camera enforcement be deposited in the school operations fund of the school corporation in which the violation occurred and used for funding school bus arm signal device cameras.
  • add school bus safety to the topics required to be on an examination for a learner’s permit or driver’s license.
  • except those locations on U.S. and state routes inside the boundary of a city or town from the prohibition on a school bus driver loading or unloading a student at a location on a U.S. or state route that requires the student to cross a roadway.
  • provides that the governing body of a school corporation may allow, in certain situations, the use of a school bus or special purpose bus for the transportation of adults with physical or intellectual disabilities

The fathers and grandfather of the children killed by a driver who disregarded a school bus stop arm in Fulton County testified in support of the bill.  Representatives from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, the Indiana State Teachers Association, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, and the Indiana School Board Association also testified in favor of the bill.  The amended bill passed 10-0.