Drivers Ignoring School Bus Stop Signs

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

The wheels on the bus go round and round, but they also stop often.

It's never fun getting stuck behind a bus before or after school, but it's even worse to go around one, and the Grand Ledge community is concerned for the safety of its students.

Grand Ledge police say they already have three reports of people driving past stopped buses, and that's more than they usually get during the whole school year. The distracted drivers aren't always teens, though.

"When there's a bus flashing, I've seen several cars not stop, not slow down," said Kim Stanley, whose daughter rides the bus. "Maybe they're on the phone, I'm guilty. I do it. I don't text, but I do talk on the phone, and you don't pay attention."

The principal at Hayes Middle School said he's seen it happen right outside the school, but he's also concerned for students living in rural areas.

"Some of those country roads, the visibility is really poor, and a lot of times adults are in a hurry to get to work, and they think that they can time it so that they can pass," said Principal Christopher Groves. "They don't realize those kids are coming from quite a distance."

Grand Ledge Police said the solution is easy. People should treat those flashing lights on a bus like a stop light: yellow means slow down, and red means stop at least 25 feet away, no matter which direction you're traveling or how many lanes of traffic there are.

"Wait, completely stopped until the lights turn off, and then you can proceed with the bus and with the traffic flow," Sgt. Chris Blievernicht said. "Sometimes the bus may pullover depending on the situation allowing you to pass, but otherwise they're going to go back into the flow of traffic, and just follow behind them."

He said the only time a car can pass a stopped school bus is when it's on the other side of a median. There has to be concrete or grass between the bus - a turning lane doesn't count.

Even though police are monitoring bus stops, they said they don't actually have to witness a stop arm violator in order to issue a hefty ticket.

"This one is a rare code like an accident or drunk driving, where we can investigate, and if we can corroborate the bus drivers' statements, then we can seek charges and have the ticket issued," Blievernicht said.

Police get some help from school bus video cameras - footage can be used to find someone who illegally passed a bus. The 25 feet around either side of the school bus is considered a temporary school zone, so a $250 fine for passing a stopped bus turns into $500 because the fine is doubled in that zone.

"Five seconds, ten seconds, isn't going to make a difference when we get to work," Principal Groves said. "But those kids, they're not paying attention, and we have to be the responsible adults and make sure that we're obeying the traffic signs and the bus signs and things like that and that our kids are safe."

Grand Ledge Police said they will keep monitoring the situation.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Steve Location: Grand Ledge on Sep 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM
    So what's the deal when a school bus pulls to the side of the road with their hazards on to pick-up/drop children?? I've seen this with disturbing frequency throughout the Grand Ledge area. Seems to me, those bus drivers should receive similar penalties to a driver disobeying bus signals. If the proper lights/signals are not being used how is this the fault of the driver?? I am a GL parent with children that ride the bus to school and this makes me sick, but on both accounts. Bus drivers should use the proper signals REGARDLESS of how far they can/can't get off the road, in subdivisions, etc. This is a problem with the drivers yes, but also equally a problem with the bus drivers themselves (or potentially the rules the drivers are or aren't following). JMO
  • by Thomas McAdams Location: Location on Sep 20, 2012 at 01:51 PM
    People are getting angry beacuse school buses stop at every house. Don't children have legs to walk to a central bus stop??? Gas is expensive and we need to get where we're going too, you know!
  • by Someone's Mom Location: Williamston on Sep 19, 2012 at 12:53 PM
    We get confused in Williamston because the buses don't seem to use their flashing lights. Some of us stop behind a stopped bus with children getting on or off, while others just pass by. I was told once that if the children don't have to cross the road the bus driver doesn't use the flashing lights. This seems to be the only place I've noticed this happening. What's the correct procedure here?
  • by Melinda Westphal Location: Lansing, MI (Dewitt twp) on Sep 19, 2012 at 06:05 AM
    OMG, come on Grand Ledge parents and the community. My daughter was hit by an irresponsible driver when she got off the bus and was instructed to go, he ignored that BIG YELLOW thing in the road and struck my daughter, she got 46 stitches in her head and suffered emotional distress. I cannot stress enough how important this is, and they need to catch these people and make them pay.
  • by Name Location: Location on Sep 19, 2012 at 02:33 AM
    For those high schools students doing this, leave 10 minutes earlier so you are not late to school. Nothing is more embarrasing than for a student to be pulled over in front of the school as all of the buses are being pulled in.
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