Some Indiana students may notice slight changes to their bus routes this year. It’s part of a larger, statewide effort to improve school bus safety.
Indiana lawmakers passed several bills earlier this year aimed at keeping kids safe on their way to and from school. An accident that killed three children when they were crossing the street to board a school bus in 2018 prompted the changes.
One of the laws prohibits school districts from making students cross a highway, or a road with a speed limit over 50 miles per hour, to board a bus unless there are no safer alternatives.
Monroe County Community Schools Transportation Director Nathan Oliver says the district’s route changes go even further.
"We are 95% right-hand stops only," he says. "All of our highway stops, major thoroughfares are right-hand only. This will make the kids’ pickup and drop offs a lot safer."
Another new law increases the penalty for illegally passing a school bus with its stop arm out.
Oliver says MCCSC installed stop arm on cameras on two buses as part of a pilot program to help with enforcement.
"We want to be able to catch the cars in the action so I can show the local police agencies so they can go and have a conversation with that person," he says.
Federal grants going to police agencies across the state will also help enforce the new law.
Correction: A previous version of the story stated the law prohibits school districts from making students cross a highway or road with a speed limit of more than 50 miles per hour. There is only a prohibition if there is a safe alternative.