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New law aims to stop drivers from ignoring activated stop-arms on school buses

A new Michigan law allows officers to use video from stop-arm cameras on school buses to issue citations to drivers who don't stop.

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Starting Oct. 11, police officers in Michigan will have the ability to use video from school buses equipped with stop-arm camera systems to issue citations to drivers who fail to stop when those stop-arms are activated. 

Under current law, an officer has to witness the civil infraction, which carries a fine between $100 and $500. Violators may also be required to perform up to 100 hours of community service at a school.

"It's very simple, when those red lights are flashing don't pass," said Rep. Jack O’Malley, a Republican from Lake Ann. "I don't think anybody does it maliciously, but we're distracted driving."

O'Malley's bill is now Public Acts (PA) 50 and 52 of 2021.

The laws also allow school districts to place on the exterior of a bus sign stating, "Individuals attempting to board are subject to a civil infraction and fine."

"We're saying you have to have permission to step onto that bus," said O'Malley. 

The new law is an attempt to prevent angry parents or other motorists from entering a school bus without the bus driver's permission. O'Malley says now school buses have the same protection from uninvited individuals as public school buildings.

Entering a school bus without permission also qualifies for a civil infraction, which carries a fine between $100 and $500.

"I think people are realizing this is a smart way to help keep our kids safe," said O'Malley. "I think it will increase enforcement and will then make things safer because people are now going to have to pay a little closer attention."

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