Bus stop on busy highway causes concern for Miami County parents

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MIAMI COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) - All the similarities are there. A busy road, a trailer park and a bus stop.

When three siblings were killed when a driver ignored a bus stop arm in Fulton County last month, parents at the Maple Lawn Village trailer park near Kokomo couldn’t help but think of their own bus stop along U.S. 31.

“I think it’s very dangerous, especially with all this traffic going back and forth,” said Catherine Casteel.

But they fear the potential here is worse. Parents sent us video of the bus pulling up to drop off kids but without using a stop arm, all the while 60 mile an hour traffic keeps whizzing by.

“They put their hazard lights on and that’s about it,” said Katherine Munsell.

When we were out Thursday afternoon, the bus came up with just flashing lights and again the stop armed never moved.

Fortunately, no children have to cross this road, but parents still feel this is an accident waiting to happen.

“I think that someday someone is going to get in an accident and end up hitting the bus and the bus is going to end up going on top of one of the kids or one of the kids is going to end up getting hurt,” said Munsell.

“And you’ve got little kids out here that are from three to teenagers,” said Casteel.

Officials with the Maconaquah School Corporation said in a statement:

“Along with every other school corporation in the state, we are heartbroken about what happened in Tippecanoe Valley Schools. We revisit the safety of all of our bus stops regularly, and we are hyper-aware of the weighty responsibility we have to transport students safely to and from school.

“We do not use a stop arm, per instruction from the Indiana State Police. Instead, we use an ‘off-road stop,’ which includes pulling completely off the road and turning on flashing yellow lights.”

According to Indiana State Code:

(b) The governing body of a public school may authorize a school bus driver to load or unload a student at a location off the roadway that the governing body designates as a special school bus loading area. The driver is not required to extend the arm signal device when loading or unloading a student in the designated area.

IC 9-21-12-13 School bus; arm signal device

Parents told Eyewitness News they would prefer if the bus avoids the highway altogether and pulls into the trailer park to load and unload children.

School officials said the idea was given consideration, but felt the idea was more dangerous due to the risk of students being hit by the bus.

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