MCAS Transportation creates music video for stop arm safety
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. – “Think it over!” That’s what the Michigan City Area Schools Transportation Department wants you to think when the lights on a bus are flashing and the stop arm is extended - in a creative way.
The department created a music video a spoof to the song ‘Stop in the Name of Love’ by the Supremes in order to spread that message. “All they cared about was getting this message out,” said Sue Harrison the Director of Transportation.
MCAS bus drivers and monitors say they see drivers pass extended school bus arms daily.
“All the time every day, especially on the highways,” said driver Phyllis Chambers.
Chambers has been a bus driver with the district for 24 years. She created the lyrics for the music video in three days. She says originally, she was going to perform the song by herself with permission from the department, but then it turned into quite the production.
She says the song is her way of trying to prevent another tragedy.
“Last year, when a lot of those kids got killed, it just broke my heart because that’s been the most scariest thing in my career is for something like that to happen, and when it did happen it really bothered me,” said Chambers.
In October 2018, siblings Mason, Alivia and Xzavier were killed when a driver struck the students as they attempted to board their bus in Fulton County.
“We are all taking this more seriously, law enforcement is taking this more seriously,” said Harris. “We’re worried about children’s safety. Those fatalities woke a lot of people up.”
“If something like that ever happened to one of my students, in front of my bus, I wouldn’t be able to drive anymore,” Chambers said.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Ted Bohner says education about bus safety is key to preventing tragedies.
“Some of it is people just don’t know, so that’s why it’s important that we’ve been ramping up more so than past, not just our department but other departments, just telling people when they do need to stop,” he said.
The music video explains that on a highway that is not divided, all lanes must stop for a school bus with its arm extended, and when it is divided, only the lanes on the same side of the bus must stop.
“That’s why I wanted to put the rules out there so that way they would know,” said Chambers.
The Fulton County siblings even inspired a new law this legislative session that improves school bus safety and increases penalties for drivers who pass a stopped school bus with an extended stop arm.
“The law has been given some more bite so to speak. It’s a Class A Misdemeanor to recklessly pass a bus with a stop arm out, it’s been enhanced to a Level 6 Felony if it causes injury, and a Level 5 Felony if it causing death,” Bohner explained.
Governor Holcomb has even allocated funds to police departments across the state to put extra officers in school zones and on bus routes to keep students more safe.
“Kids shouldn’t lose their lives just trying to go to school,” said Bohner.
Chambers says her students are like family to her, which is why the message is so important.
“You get to know these students, you’re on a bus for that long with them. You get to know them, they show you their report cards, you have a relationship with them,” she said.
She hopes the catchy tune will catch people’s attention.
“I think that when people drive passed the bus and see the stop arm, I think that song will pop into their mind.”
You can watch the full music video here.