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KCSO Participates in National School Bus Safety Campaign, Operation Safe Stop

October 18th, 2021 10:01 am


Contact: Lt. Joel Roon
PH: (616) 632-6492
EM: joel.roon@kentcountymi.gov

On 10/18/2021 through 10/22/2021, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office will participate in the national school bus safety campaign, Operation Safe Stop

Starting today, law enforcement officers in Michigan will be increasing patrols to look for motorists illegally passing school buses. Operation Safe Stop is conducted in affiliation with National School Bus Safety Week, occurring from October 18th through October 22nd.

According to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center, there were 1,197 school bus-related crashes in Michigan in 2019, the most in the last ten years. A one-day study conducted by 1,373 Michigan bus drivers in May 2019 reported that motorists illegally passed school buses 508 times. On average, 500,000 buses nationwide take 26 million students to and from school each day.

“The safety of our kids as they travel to and from school is every resident’s responsibility,” said Sheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young. “Participating in Operation Safe Stop is a great opportunity for us to bring awareness to school bus safety laws by increasing our presence on local bus routes and educating motorists on the importance of sharing the road with school buses safely.”

Drivers should prepare to stop when a slowing school bus has its overhead yellow lights flashing and should stop at least 20 feet away from a bus when the overhead lights flash red, unless driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway. Drivers should slow down in or near school and residential areas, and look for clues, such as safety patrols, crossing guards, bicycles, and playgrounds that indicate children might be in the area.

Most school bus-related injuries and deaths involve pedestrians, mostly children, who are struck by a school bus or injured when they are exiting the school bus to cross traffic. In Michigan, drivers who pass stopped school buses may be charged with civil infractions carrying a fine of up to $500 and $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 of up to $7,500 or up to 15 years in jail.

Bus safety is everyone’s responsibility. For more information about Operation Safe Stop and school bus safety, visit Michigan.gov/SchoolBusSafety.