LANSING, Mich. — With school back in session, it's important to remember the rules of the road. Michigan lawmakers want to add to the incentive by proposing a new bill which promotes stricter punishments for drivers who disobey bus stop guidelines.
Representative Kevin Hertel, a democrat from St. Clair Shores introduced House Bill No. 4867 in late August, in hopes of promoting safety amid the start of the school year.
"Where I drop my son off every day at daycare, there’s a school bus pick up there, and I have seen cars blow by the stop signs and flashing red lights on a bus," he said.
Hertel noted that when compared to the rest of the nation, Michigan has, "the most lenient penalties for breaking the law that requires you to stop for a school bus when a stop sign is out."
The new bill would increase the minimum $100 fine for first-time offenders who run through a bus stop sign or flashing red lights to $250. Second-time offenders would be charged, at a judge's discretion, a fine within $500 to $1,000.
Under the bill, the Secretary of State would have the power to suspend the driver's licenses of repeat offenders for up to one year.
"If it happens multiple times, we need to have ways to ensure that that person doesn’t have the ability to continue to do this and that our children are safe," Hertel explained.
Hertel said the bill will be brought to the committee chair, before it can be voted on.
Michigan State Police offer these road-rule guidelines for drivers:
School bus safety tips for drivers:
- Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing
- Stop at least 20 feet away for buses when red lights are flashing, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway
- Slow down in or near school and residential areas
- Look for clues-such as safety patrols, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds-that indicate children might be in the area
- Watch for children between parked cars and other objects
School buses are like traffic signals
- When overhead lights are flashing yellow: Prepare to stop
- When overhead lights are flashing red: Stop
- When hazard warning lights are flashing: Proceed with caution
School bus safety tips for students:
- Always stay in sight of the bus driver
- Don't hurry off the bus; check traffic first
- Don't go back to the bus after exiting
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