School Bus Safety
Safety Tips for Motorists
• Slow down and obey all traffic laws and speed limits.
• Red overhead flashing lights, possibly accompanied by an extended stop arm, tell you the school bus is
stopped to load or unload children. State law requires you to stop at least 20 feet from the front or rear of a
school bus when red lights are flashing and not proceed until the school bus resumes motion or until signaled by
the school bus driver to proceed.
• Be Alert and ready to stop. Prepare to stop for a school bus when overhead yellow lights are flashing. Drive
with caution if you see the yellow hazard warning lights flashing on a moving or stopped bus. Watch for children
walking in the street, especially where there are no sidewalks. Watch for children playing and gathering near bus
stops. Watch for children arriving late for the bus, who may dart into the street without looking for traffic. When
backing out of a driveway or leaving a garage, watch for children walking or biking to school
Michigan law regarding school buses
MCL 257.682 is specific to a driver’s responsibilities regarding school bus issues.
“(1) The driver of a vehicle overtaking or meeting a school bus which has stopped and is displaying 2 alternately 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. “
“At an intersection where traffic is controlled by an officer or a traffic stop-and-go signal a vehicle need not be brought to a full stop before passing a stopped school bus, but may proceed past the school bus at a speed not greater than is reasonable and proper, but not greater than 10 miles an hour and with due caution for the safety of passengers being received or discharged from the school bus.“
“The driver of a vehicle who fails to stop for a school bus as required by this subsection, who passes a school bus in violation of this subsection, or who fails to stop for a school bus in violation of an ordinance that complies with this subsection, is responsible for a civil infraction.”
“(2) The driver of a vehicle upon a highway which has been divided into two roadways by leaving an intervening space, or by a physical barrier, or clearly indicated dividing sections so constructed as to impede vehicular traffic, need not stop upon meeting a school bus which has stopped across the dividing space, barrier, or section.
“divided into two roadways.” It is not necessary to stop for a school bus stopped on the other side of a divided highway where the road is separated by a barrier, such as a concrete or grass median, island, or other structures that separate the flow of traffic. On five lane roads where there is just a left turn lane, vehicles are required to stop on both sides of the road.
“(3) In a proceeding for a violation of subsection (1), proof that the particular vehicle described in the citation was in violation of subsection (1), together with proof that the defendant named in the citation was, at the time of the violation, the registered owner of the vehicle, shall constitute in evidence a presumption that the registered owner of the vehicle was the driver of the vehicle at the time of the violation.”
Section (3) is one of the unique portions of this law. The officer can issue the citation for violating the school bus law to the “registered owner” of the vehicle. Even if the registered owner wasn’t driving the vehicle they could still receive the citation.
“(4) In addition to the civil fine and costs provided for a civil infraction under section 907, the judge, district court referee, or district court magistrate may order a person who violates this section to perform not to exceed 100 hours of community service at a school.”
Section (4) is also unique because it allows the court to order a person who violates this law to perform community service at a school.