WARSAW — Signs promoting safety at local bus stops are available for anyone interested in Warsaw.
The “STOP MEANS STOP” yard signs can be picked up at the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Department station No. 2, at 2204 E. Center St., Warsaw. The purpose of the signs is to remind drivers to use caution around school buses and watch for stopped school buses.
“I will support anything that will cause drivers to stop for school buses but am skeptical a sign will work when drivers ignore the bus strobes and flashing lights,” said former Warsaw Community School bus driver Jim Merritt, who retired in 2018. “It’s a shame multiple child fatalities had to occur before the problem caught the attention of the public, prosecutors and legislators.”
Merritt drove a school bus for the Warsaw school system for 12 years and said he quit counting the number of times per week drivers went by the red lights and stop arm on his bus.
“We don’t have enough law enforcement officers and vehicles to follow every bus every day,” Merritt said.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a new school bus safety law that took effect July 1. State law requires a school bus to use flashing lights and extend its stop arm while loading and unloading students along a roadway. State law also requires drivers to stop while the bus arm is extended.
“Indiana police officers will be enforcing increased fines and penalties for drivers who recklessly pass bus stops and drive aggressively,” Gov. Holcomb said. “This is one of many steps that Indiana is taking to protect the safety of schoolchildren as classes resume.”
Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory Public Information Officer Max Kinsey said the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Department received 144 signs earlier this week and most are already gone. “We have about 20 signs left,” said Kinsey. “We’re hoping people will see the signs and remember to stop when they see the school bus arm extended.”
Anyone who would like a sign to place in their yard can stop by the fire station to pick one up. Limit one sign per visitor.
The promotion was sponsored by WNDU and an Elkhart car dealership.