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New bus laws go into effect throughout Michigan

School bus driver shortage
Posted at 9:45 AM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-13 09:45:12-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Two new laws took effect Monday involving school buses in Michigan.

Both are designed to keep children safe as they're headed to and from school.

The two new laws focus on two things:

  • making it easier to ticket people who drive past a school bus's extended stop arm;
  • implementing more signage to make it clear a person cannot walk onto a school bus without permission.

The first law will allow law enforcement to use video from cameras on the outside of school buses to determine if a driver needs to be ticketed.

Before this, a police officer or sheriff's deputy had to see the car blow past the bus's stop arm sign in person.

Both school districts and local law enforcement said they hope this change will help drivers pay more attention and keep kids safe.

"Well, there's always the opportunity that the school bus driver didn't catch the license plate. With that camera, once it's activated, hopefully it will capture the registration of the vehicle, which will then assist the law enforcement in identifying who the driver was," said Kent County Sheriff's Office Undersheriff Chuck DeWitt.

"When the red flashing light comes on, the stop sign comes out. That's when you stop 50 feet away from the bus, and oftentimes in, I would say in this district, it's probably at least once a week we have someone who will run our red lights. Thankfully our drivers are very prepared for it, and they're watching their mirrors constantly and are ready to warn students," said Whitehall District Schools Transportation Director Penny Evert.

When it comes to not entering a bus without permission, you'll now start seeing a sign on bus doors making that clear.

If you need some extra incentive not to break the law, you can face a $500 ticket for ignoring either rule.