Red Means Stop: National School Bus Safety Week
Since the start of the 2023-2024 school year, the Saline Area Schools Transportation Department has documented 21 bus pass infractions, an average of one per school day, across the District’s 22 bus routes. This problem extends statewide. In a one-day survey conducted by 1,108 Michigan bus drivers in May of 2023, there were 864 reports of a motorist passing a school bus illegally, with 13 of those illegal passes occurring on the right hand side of the bus.
Tracey Mulcare, Transportation Manager for Saline Area Schools, assists with bus route coverage and spends time each week behind the wheel on bus routes. Mulcare says, “If you see a school bus, slow down and be prepared to stop. All too often we see motorists pulling out in front of our buses or speeding up when our yellow lights come on.”
In recognition of National School Bus Safety Week, October 16-20, Saline Area Schools want to remind the public about the importance of safe bus stop procedures.
- When a slowing school bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing, drivers should prepare to stop.
- When a stopped school bus has its overhead red lights flashing and stop arm extended, drivers on both sides of the roadway MUST stop at least 20 feet away.
All of Saline Area Schools’ regular route buses are equipped with a camera system, activated when the stop arm is extended, in an effort to capture drivers violating safe stop procedures. Video footage of bus stop violations are regularly reported to local law enforcement and can be used as evidence in bus stop violation proceedings. Drivers violating bus signals may be charged with civil, misdemeanor, or felony infractions.
- Drivers who pass stopped school buses may be charged with civil infractions carrying a fine up to $500, and up to $100 in costs.
- Drivers who pass a stopped school bus and cause an injury face a misdemeanor charge and either a fine up to $1,000 or up to one year in jail.
- Drivers who pass a stopped school bus and cause a death are subject to a felony with either a fine up to $7,500 or up to 15 years in jail.
Members of the community interested in helping to educate neighbors and area drivers are invited to pick up a “Red Means STOP!” yard sign from Saline Area Schools’ Transportation or District Offices.
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