Police cracking down on cars driving past stopped school buses

As school starts back up, police in Indiana are cracking down on drivers who don't stop for buses.

It can have deadly consequences, as three children were killed at a bus stop in Indiana last year.

"I’ve been seeing a lot of violators,” said Michael Webber, Hobart Police Officer. “There isn't a day where I haven't written at least one citation. It bothers me when I see a car that passes a school bus when those red lights are activated and there are small children getting on or getting off."

Last October, a driver near Rochester, Indiana, failed to slow down as a school bus stopped, killing a 9-year-old girl and her twin 6-year-old brothers as they crossed the road.

In response, an Indiana law enforcement group is now providing grants to 39 local police departments to fund overtime for officers to crack down, including $10,000 for Hobart.

"Every weekday that school is in session we're doing what's called the SAVE program,” said Lt. Ronald Russo, Hobart Police. “SAVE is actually an acronym for the Stop Arm Violation Enforcement."

Officers follow buses before and after school, watching to make sure traffic stops when the red lights go on and the stop sign swings out.

"What I did was I went to the bus barn and I had them print out a couple of routes of the buses,” said Officer Webber.

Violators get a misdemeanor ticket that's punishable up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine.

"I’m shocked,” said Kattie Kiel, a school bus driver. “There's so many people that drive past the stop-arm. And they don't care."​​​​​​​

Hobart Police say they'll keep writing tickets until the public gets the message.

"A successful day for us would be zero violations written and zero reports of any stop-arm violations,” said Lt. Russo. “We've yet to see it. Hopefully by the end of the grant they do."​​​​​​​

Last year, Hobart Police wrote a total of 24 tickets for stop-arm violations. Through Wednesday, they've written 40.