KENT COUNTY, Mich. — With most schools starting Monday across Kent County, deputies are reminding drivers to watch out for school buses, and we're giving everyone an important refresher about school bus safety laws.
During Operation Safe Stop last year, drivers were caught on the County Sheriff's Office dash and body-cam ignoring safety laws.
"The multiple lane road is usually something that screws people up a little bit," said Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young.
If there's multi-lane paved road, drivers traveling in both directions must stop. If there's a divided highway, drivers behind the bus must stop, while drivers traveling in the opposite direction must proceed with caution.
"It isn't the number one citation we write," said the sheriff. "We have a number of individuals who aren't mistaken. They just pass the school bus."
In last October, two new laws went into effect to keep kids safe on the bus.
The first allows police to ticket drivers who blow through the stop arm using the bus' exterior cameras.
"What that means is even if there's not a police officer there, if you disregard the indicators on the school bus, you'll likely be cited if we can get an identification on your vehicle."
The second law states people can't walk onto a school bus without permission.
The sheriff encourages drivers to pay attention and to not be distracted.
"Often we'll find those who disregarded indicators on school bus are distracted. They were doing something else and didn't see the lights because they weren't paying attention to driving so we're just asking people to be super careful."
If you pass a stopped school bus, you can face a fine up to $500.
Drivers who cause death are subject to a felony with either a fine of or up to $7,500. They could also serve up to 15 years in jail.
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