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Back to Learning: Stop for school buses

At least 500 people illegally pass school buses a day in Michigan
Bus drivers remind people to stop for school buses
Bus drivers remind people to stop for school buses(WILX)
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 1:36 PM EDT
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MICHIGAN CENTER, Mich. (WILX) - School buses across mid-Michigan are back on the road picking up and dropping off students as they go back to learning. It’s difficult enough to drive a bus this year, and adding to that at least 500 people illegally pass school buses every day in Michigan. Now, bus drivers and police departments are begging drivers to pay attention.

“Small towns, big towns, it happens all the time,” said Tony Clemons, Michigan Center Schools Transportation Supervisor.

Clemons said someone blows past a stopped school bus in Michigan Center at least once a week.

“I don’t know how you can not miss this big yellow thing with big red flashing lights, arms come out, stop signs are lit up. I mean flasher’s [and] everything’s going,” he said.

The numbers from one day illustrate the problem; On May 8, 2019, at least 508 people illegally passed stop school buses, and that’s only counting the 1300 bus drivers who participated in an annual survey. The actual number is thought to be much higher.

“Everybody is in such a hurry these days. Nobody slows down. Nobody slows down. As soon as they see those amber lights come on, everybody wants to hit the gas and hurry up and beat those red flashers,” said Clemons.

Not stopping for a school bus can be deadly. Just two years ago three kids were killed after they were ran over while getting on the bus in northern Indiana.

“It’s just sad. It is. If people would just slow down, take an extra five minutes before you go to work, you might save a life one day,” said Clemons.

Michigan State Police spokesman Lt. Brian Oleksyk said the law is pretty clear on what you need to do.

“You are required to stop at least 20 feet from that bus and you cannot proceed until that bus’ red flashing lights are off,” said Lt. Oleksyk.

Many school district’s are able to catch those violations on camera.

“We get right on it, our liaison officer comes over, boom, boom, boom, within an hour, they usually find the person that did the infraction,” said Clemons.

He added that bus drivers are doing what they can to keep students safe.

“They do their routes so everything is pretty much on a right hand side pick up, there are crossers it does happen,” Clemons said.

If you’re caught passing a stopped school bus in Michigan you could be fined $500, serve 100 hours of community service at the school and three points could also be added to your license.

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