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What are Indiana's school bus laws?

As two communities mourn students killed in hit-and-runs, here is a refresher on Indiana's school bus laws.

INDIANAPOLIS — Two central Indiana communities are mourning the deaths of young students who were killed in hit and runs on their way to school. 

Sixteen-year-old Lily J. Streeval of Columbus was killed at a bus stop in Bartholomew Co. early Monday morning, when a car did not stop and hit her. 

An unidentified girl also died Monday from injuries sustained during a hit-and-run. That girl was hit by a car off Moeffhoffler Road Friday on the east side of Indianapolis, and died Monday.  

Police said the driver of that car left her in the middle of the road. It is unclear how close she was to a school bus. 

As school starts back up though, it’s crucial to remember the rules around school buses so we can keep kids safe.  

In Indiana, it’s illegal for drivers to pass a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing and stop-arm extended.

Here’s a quick review of Indiana's school bus laws: 

  • Motorists have to stop when approaching a school bus from any direction when the bus is stopped with its flashing red lights activated and its stop arm extended.  
  • Motorists on a highway that is divided by a barrier or unimproved median are required to stop…if they are traveling in the same direction as the school bus. 
  • If there is no barrier or unimproved median or barrier, all lanes in all directions must stop for a school bus arm. 

Data collected from the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services showed 2,053 bus drivers of a participating 6,779 reported illegal passing of their school bus in 2019. 

That same data showed over 27 percent of the nation’s school bus drivers participated in a one-day survey to report motorists who passed their stopped school buses. 

In the survey, 130,963 school bus drivers reported that 95,319 vehicles passed their buses illegally on a single day during the 2018-19 school year. 

Throughout a 180-day school year, these sample results point to more than 17 million violations among America’s motoring public. 

However, experts think the number of violations is likely much higher, because not every bus driver participated in the study.

In the state of Indiana if you leave the scene of an accident that results in a fatality, the charge is a Level 4 felony. 

In 2019, Indiana lawmakers approved tougher penalties for drivers who pass school buses with extended stop arms after three children were fatally struck while crossing a highway to board a bus.

Earlier this month, police bolstered their presence in school zones across - jurisdictions and found - 

If you have information, you can call Det. Eric Snow of IMPD at 317-327-6549. To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-TIPS.  

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