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Passing stopped Indiana school buses could get pricier

Indiana drivers could find themselves facing more frequent and pricier tickets for illegally passing stopped school buses under a bill the state Senate passed Tuesday.

Posted: Feb 23, 2021 2:32 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana drivers could find themselves facing more frequent and pricier tickets for illegally passing stopped school buses under a bill the state Senate passed Tuesday.

Like cameras that already capture images of drivers speeding and running red lights, the measure authored by Republican Sen. Rick Niemeyer would allow police to cite drivers based on photos taken by cameras affixed to some school buses' stop sign arms instead of having to witness such violations themselves.

“The main crux of this bill is we have a responsibility ... as legislators in the state of Indiana, working on the issue of school safety, to do the best we can to make these laws work,” said Niemeyer.

Under the bill, a first stop-arm violation would be a Class B infraction accompanied by a fine of up to $1,000. Any subsequent violations would be Class A infractions with fines of up to $10,000 per incident.

Some Democrats pushed back against the bill, arguing that vehicle owners could be penalized without proof that they were driving when a violation occurred.

However, Niemeyer said the bill includes protections for such owners, including rental car companies, but requires them to work with law enforcement to identify drivers who break the law.

The Senate approved the bill in a 38-11 and advanced it to the House.

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. Now, a driver convicted of recklessly passing a stopped school bus faces a 90-day license suspension for a first offense and a year's suspension for a repeat offense. Felony penalties were also created for recklessly passing a bus and injuring or killing someone.

___

Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
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Clark11913180
Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
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Delaware9824179
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Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
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Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
Shelby459890
Lawrence4174111
Gibson400981
Harrison397863
Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
Knox356285
Miami356163
Whitley348435
Huntington341876
Steuben337455
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Ripley326461
Adams322149
Jasper314843
White297152
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Daviess285096
Fayette271156
Decatur270188
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Posey260431
Wells257174
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LaGrange240770
Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
Tipton145941
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Pike127432
Blackford120527
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