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School Bus Safety Week a reminder to be mindful of school bus laws

This week is National School Bus Safety Week, and the Insurance Alliance of Michigan is encouraging drivers to get a refresher on Michigan’s school bus laws.

“Even though school started almost two months ago, there’s never a bad time for drivers to get a reminder of the rules when it comes to passing a stopped school bus,” said Tricia Kinley, executive director of the Insurance Alliance of Michigan. “National School Bus Safety Week is a great opportunity to remind drivers to slow down when they approach a bus with yellow lights flashing and to never pass a stopped school bus if its red lights are flashing.”

In 2018, there were 1,073 accidents involving school buses in Michigan resulting in 336 injuries and five deaths. Children between the ages of 1 and 15 accounted for nearly 40% of those injuries with the vast majority being a passenger in a vehicle.

According to data from the Michigan State Police, Wayne County had the most accidents involving a school bus with 200, followed by Oakland County with 140 and Macomb County with 134.

“Drivers are faced with more distractions than ever when they’re behind the wheel, which is why it’s critically important to watch for a stopped school bus with its lights flashing – and that includes on four lane roads,” Kinley said. “More and more buses are being equipped with cameras to catch drivers dangerously passing a school bus, and bus drivers oftentimes write down the license plate number of any car that illegally passes their bus and report those drivers to police.”

The Michigan State Police offer the following tips for drivers when they come across a school bus at or near a stop:

  • Prepare to stop when a slowing bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing.

  • Stop at least 20 feet away from buses when red lights are flashing, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway.

  • Slow down in or near school and residential areas.

  • Watch for children crossing the street between parked cars and other objects.

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