MSP warns motorists to stop for school buses

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Michigan law states when a school bus is stopped on any roadway and its red lights are flashing, motorists are required to stop until the flashing lights have stopped and the bus has resumed motion. Law enforcement agencies, both local and nationwide, are reporting an increase in motorists not stopping for school buses.

CALUMET — The Michigan State Police Calumet Post is reminding motorists of a law for them to stop for school buses when its red lights are flashing.

“This is in response to a the increase in complaints received regarding motorists passing school buses with the flashing red lights activated when children are being picked up and dropped off at bus stops,” states a release from the MSP.

This release comes just nine days after the Daily Mining Gazette published an appeal from the Houghton City Police cautioning motorists to stop for school buses. the MSP, as with the Houghton Police, has warned that stopping for buses is a law.

The law (MCL 257.682) states: “An operator of a vehicle overtaking or meeting a school bus that has stopped and is displaying two alternative flashing red lights located at the same level, shall bring the vehicle to a full stop, not less than 20 feet from the school bus, and shall not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or the visual signals are no longer actuated.”

The MPS release also warns motorists that failure to stop for a school bus or passing a school bus in violation of the above subsection are in violation of state law and are responsible for a civil infraction.

Lt. Nick Roberts, Houghton City Police, said in the Nov. 18 edition of the Daily Mining Gazette that that city has seen a high increase in motorists not stopping for school buses.

“We were getting them on the side streets, where people were passing the buses,” Roberts said, “but now, we’re getting them on the five-lane, on M-26, where the center lane is considered a lane. There are many people on M-26, on opposite lanes of traffic who aren’t stopping. All lanes of traffic, unless there is a median with a barrier, have to stop.”

When yellow hazard warning lights are flashing on a moving or stopped bus: drive with caution and be prepared to stop. The bus driver activates the yellow lights when the bus is slowing down and preparing to stop.

The fine for passing a stopped school bus in Michigan is anywhere from $100 to $500, which does not include court costs.

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