PERRY COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – As students head back to school, the buses are back. The Perry County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind motorists to stop for the school buses or face the consequences.

Officers say there will be more patrols in school zones and around school buses to prevent reckless behavior like speeding and stop-arm violations. Officers will be conducting high-visibility patrols in both the morning and afternoon.

“Our biggest concerns this time of year are drivers not paying attention to the road, distracted driving and speeding,” said Sheriff Alan Malone. “Most of the violations we encounter stem from those actions, and drivers need to be held accountable. Help us keep kids safe by slowing down, putting away the distractions and stopping for buses.”

But they are not alone in this pursuit for safety, more than 200 police departments are joining the campaign. The back-to-school campaign is called Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) and is funded by grants from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

Despite many being cited under the SAVE campaign, reckless driving around school zones and buses is still a concern for many. Reports from the Sheriff’s Office show a total of 2,041 stop-arm violations in a one day survey by bus drivers.

“The fact that we still have people willing to put students and bus drivers at risk is the reason this campaign is necessary,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Still, law enforcement can’t be everywhere, so drivers need to do the right thing and exercise caution around buses. Students’ lives depend on it.”

According to the authorities, when a school bus’s lights are yellow, drivers should slow down and be prepared to stop. When they turn red, the only exception for not stopping is on highways with a physical barrier with drivers going the opposite way. Drivers going the same way are still expected to stop.

Officers say that motorists should pay special attention near schools or residential areas for children, be mindful of speed limits and avoid distractions. They also remind motorists that ignoring a school bus stop-arm is a Class A Infraction. Violators could pay a fine up to $10,000, and/or have their license suspended for 90 days on the first offense. Second time offenders could have their license suspended for up to a year.