Lawmaker seeks to increase fines and penalties for motorists who disregard a school bus displaying flashing lights

LANSING – State Senator Curtis Hertel Jr. (D–East Lansing) has introduced legislation, Senate Bill 528, which will amend the Michigan Vehicle Code to further protect children who ride the school bus.

“The most important issue is the safety of our children,” Hertel said. “We need to make sure drivers are aware of their surroundings and know the consequences of their failure to comply with safety laws. As a father of four school-age children, I know how important it is to ensure that our children are protected.”

Nearly 18,000 buses transport 860,000 students to and from school daily, according to the Michigan Association for Pupil Transportation. Alarmingly, more schoolchildren are hurt outside school buses than inside as passengers. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from 2006 to 2015 show that 301 school-age children died in school transportation-related crashes.

In March of 2015, a young boy from Calhoun County was hit by a driver while attempting to get on the bus. The bus had its red flashing lights on as well as its stop arm extended, but still the motorist did not stop.

“Keeping Michigan’s children safe should be our first priority,” Hertel said. “Updating the law is only part of the process. We also need to educate drivers so they know what their legal responsibility is when they encounter a school bus with its flashing lights on.”

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