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The Dubois County Prosecutor is urging drivers to be cautious around school buses with children soon returning to school.

Dubois County Prosecutor Beth Schroeder is reminding the community to slow down around school buses and in school zones and to always make a full stop when the school bus stop arm is extended, and the red lights are flashing. 

In Indiana, it’s against the law for motorists to pass a bus that’s stopped and has its red lights flashing and stop-arm extended. 

This applies to all roads with one exception: motorists who are on a highway that is divided by a barrier such as a cable barrier, concrete wall, or grassy median; motorists are then required to stop only if they are traveling in the same direction as the school bus. 

Disregarding a school bus stop arm is a Class A Infraction, which could result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a license suspension for up to 90 days on the first offense or up to a year on the second. 

Recklessly passing a stop-arm is a crime, which could result in jail time. Further punishment could come if injuries or death occur as a result of reckless passing. If someone is killed, the charge could be reckless homicide which is a felony punishable by years in prison. 

If charged with one of these misdemeanor or felony offenses, the Court can impose a safe school fee between $200 and $1,000. 

During the 2022-2023 school year in Dubois County, there were 10 misdemeanor cases filed involving recklessly passing a stop-arm violation. Also, during that school year in Dubois County, there were 48 infraction tickets filed for stop-arm violations. 

Many school buses in Dubois County have cameras that can record stop-arm violations and the safe school fees that are collected as part of criminal cases, not infractions, can be applied to the cost of these cameras.

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