Plainfield Police Stepping Up School Bus Safety Patrols to Catch Stop-Arm Violators

2 mins read

PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Plainfield Police Dept. is stepping up patrols to enhance school bus safety after complaints of reckless driving and stop arm violations by motorists around school busses.

“Our officers will be out in full force this spring to ensure that students remain safe when traveling to and from school. Over the next several weeks, officers will be positioned along bus routes and in school zones where they will be on high alert for stop-arm violations, speeding and other forms of reckless driving,” the department said.

The overtime patrols are part of the state’s Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) program and funded with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) grants administered by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).

Police said, If the overhead lights flash red and the stop arm extends, you are required by law to stop. Under no circumstances, should you try and speed up to “beat” the bus. That could put children boarding or exiting the bus in danger. Every time you see a bus, slow down, be ready to stop and watch for children.

“Our department joins more than 200 police agencies for the spring enforcement campaign, as part of an ongoing effort to prevent reckless driving in school zones and around buses. Last year alone, more than 2,700 drivers were cited for stop-arm violations by Indiana law enforcement, according to ICJI,” the department said. “Officers will be conducting high-visibility patrols throughout the day along school bus routes throughout Plainfield.”

As part of the campaign, the department is urging motorists to slow down, pay attention to the road and to never pass a bus that has its red lights flashing and stop arm extended. This applies to all road with one exception. On highways divided by a physical barrier, such as a concrete wall or grassy median, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop.

It is also important when approaching a school bus to be prepared to stop. Plan ahead and factor in extra time during each commute for school bus stops.

Disregarding a school bus stop arm is a Class A Infraction and a serious offense. Violators 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 the second).

Here are some additional safety tips for drivers to be aware of concerning children, bus stops and school zones:

• When backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch out for children walking or bicycling to school.

• When driving in neighborhoods with school zones, watch out for young people who may be thinking about getting to school, but may not be thinking of getting there safely.

• Slow down. Watch for children walking in the street, especially if there are no sidewalks in neighborhood.

• Watch for children playing and congregating near bus stops.

• Be alert. Children arriving late for the bus may dart into the street without looking for traffic.

• Learn and obey the school bus laws, as well as the “flashing signal light system” that school bus drivers use to alert motorists of pending actions:

o Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.

o Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. Motorists must stop their cars and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving before they can start driving again.