Updated: Aug 28, 2019
As students in school districts across Michigan head back to school following summer vacation, the Insurance Alliance of Michigan is reminding drivers to put down the cell phone, watch for children walking and biking to and from school, and obey posted speed limits in school zones.
“Just as our students are getting back into the school routine, so should drivers who may have gotten out of the habit of watching for children at crosswalks, riding bicycles and getting on and off the school bus,” said Tricia Kinley, executive director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan. “Children don’t always use crosswalks to cross the street, opting to walk between parked cars or stopped traffic instead, which is why it’s critically important to watch for children as they travel to and from school.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 131 people die each year in school-transportation-related crashes. These accidents are most likely to happen between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., when children are on their way to school, and 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., when children are coming home.
Drivers should also remember to watch for stopped school buses.
“When the stop sign is extended and red lights are flashing, drivers should never pass a school bus under any circumstances,” Kinley said. “Instead, drivers should stop at least 20 feet behind the bus and proceed only when the red lights are no longer flashing.”
Passing a stopped school bus is punishable by a fine ranging from $100 to $500.
There is no uniform start date for Michigan schools. Some students return to school this week, while others won’t start until the following week or after Labor Day.