LANSING, Mich. — Police in Michigan are paying extra attention to how drivers interact with school buses this week.
“Operation Safe Stop” is part of National School Bus Safety Week Oct. 19-23.
The campaign is aimed to get drivers to stop when they see flashing lights and the extended stop sign on a school bus. Drivers should prepare to stop when they see flashing yellow lights, and stop at least 20 feet away from a bus when the lights flash red.
“We learn it as kindergarteners; red means stop. It’s as simple as that,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning. “Even with remote learning happening throughout the state, buses are still on the road. When you see the flashing lights, stop.”
In 2019, nearly 2,100 citations were issued to drivers for failing to stop for a school bus, the highest number in a decade.
“Every time a driver ignores the flashing lights or stop arm of a bus, they are putting a student’s life in danger,” said Kellie Dean, president and CEO of Dean Transportation. “Operation Safe Stop will help keep students safe and will educate drivers on how to safely share the road with buses.”
Drivers who pass a stopped school bus and cause injury face a misdemeanor charge that carries a fine up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail. Drivers who pass a stopped school bus and cause a death are subject to a felony with either a fine up to $7,500 or up to 15 years in jail.
Police say every day in Michigan nearly 500 people illegally pass a school bus.
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