KALISPELL — Kalispell law enforcement is starting an aggressive push for vehicle safety around school buses.
Kalispell Chief of Police Doug Overman says officers will target vehicles that don't stop for stopped school buses.
Chief Overman told MTN News that Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino approached him after a six-year-old girl was recently struck by a vehicle on US Highway 93 near Whitefish.
Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jon Raymond says the child remains in critical condition in the hospital when a vehicle traveling around 40 mph failed to stop behind a stopped school bus
Chief Overman wants to remind drivers that traffic on both sides of a road need to stop for a school bus, unless the road is a highway with barrier separation. In that case, the cars on the side of the stopped school bus need to stop.
The Kalispell Police Department plans to station officers near school bus stops and on school bus routes, according to Chief Overman.
"This is a priority, not just for law enforcement, but this is a priority to our community. This is for the safety of our kids. We'll be conducting these actions in the future," Chief Overman said. "Our priority is voluntary compliance. If we find people are out of compliance, they are violating the law, they will be stopped."
Chief Overman added that if people violate the law and don't stop for stopped school buses, they could be fined and cited a traffic violation.