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School buses are like traffic signals

Just under 900 school buses were involved in crashes last year. The Rockford school bus above was involved in one a couple of weeks ago when a motorist ran a stop sign. Luckily no children were on board.

National School Bus Safety Week is Oct. 17-21

Motorists are reminded to treat school bus lights like traffic signals during National School Bus Safety Week, Oct. 17-21.
When a school bus’ overhead lights are flashing yellow, motorists should prepare to stop.
    When its overhead lights are flashing red, motorists must stop.
    When a bus’ hazard lights are flashing, motorists should proceed with caution.
Failure to obey these rules could result in costly fines and fees. In July, Public Acts 59 and 60 of 2011 took effect, increasing the penalties for motorists who fail to exercise caution in school bus safety zones. The new laws double the fines for moving violations committed in a school bus safety zone and make it a misdemeanor for injuring and a felony for killing a child getting on or off a school bus.
Motorists should also slow down in or near school and residential areas and watch for children emerging from between parked cars and other objects.
“School buses are considered the safest form of transportation to and from school,” said Michael L. Prince, Office of Highway Safety Planning director. “However, getting on and off the bus poses a great risk to students.”
In 2010, Michigan school buses were involved in 882 crashes that resulted in 273 injuries, according to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts. A majority of those injured were drivers and passengers in motor vehicles involved in crashes with buses. Two people died in school bus-involved crashes, a passenger vehicle occupant and a student who was struck by a tree branch while leaning out the bus window.
During National School Bus Safety Week, parents are also encouraged to remind children about safety while waiting for the bus and walking to school.
When entering and exiting a school bus, children should walk 10 feet away from the bus before turning. Children crossing in front of the bus should move forward, away from the bus until they can make eye contact with the driver and should never cross without the driver’s permission.
Order free traffic safety flyers on school bus safety at www.michian./ohsp. Click on “traffic safety materials.”

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