LASATA: Share the road with school buses

Over the next few weeks, students in southwest Michigan will be returning to their classrooms, and with the beginning of every school year comes additional traffic that requires extra caution from all of us sharing the road.

All drivers are required under the Michigan Vehicle Code to stop for a stopped school bus. Whether you are driving your children to school or are on your way to work, you can help bus drivers safely transport students by being patient and giving them plenty of room. Student safety is of utmost importance to bus drivers, and they will often take extra time to ensure everyone is off the bus and out of harm’s way before proceeding. Always be prepared to stop if you see flashing yellow lights. Flashing red lights mean one thing: Stop! Be sure to stay at least 20 feet from the bus and remain stopped until the lights turn off and the bus begins to move.

I recently supported a measure, which has now been signed into law, that provides additional tools to help prosecute individuals who do not adhere to the laws regarding school bus operation. Public Acts 50 and 52 of 2021 allow school buses to be equipped with a stop-arm camera system to help capture video evidence should an individual not stop for or illegally pass a school bus. These crimes are typically difficult to prosecute due to a lack of documented proof. I am glad we were able to add another tool to the toolbox to help bring those who violate the law to justice.

One of the most essential parts of a successful school year is student safety — and getting students to and from school safely should be a top priority for everyone sharing the road. As we approach the new school year, I ask that everyone show extra caution and patience when traveling in or near school zones and do their part to help build a safe, successful school year.

Kim LaSata, R, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties. She can be reached at (517) 373-6960 or SenKLaSata@senate.michigan.gov.

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