School Bus Safety Tips for Drivers | Scott Goodwin Law

School Bus Safety Tips for Drivers

by / Wednesday, 25 October 2023 / Published in Michigan Law, Tips
Parked school bus.

Fall has arrived and the new school year is fully underway. Even though we’re a bit past back-to-school season and school buses have been back on the roads for a little while now, it’s always a good time to think about school bus safety. Throughout the entire school year, it’s very common to see drivers who either aren’t aware of the rules they’re supposed to follow when driving near a school bus or choose to ignore those rules. 

Generally speaking, riding in a school bus is a very safe way for children to get to and from school. According to the NHTSA, less than 1% of all traffic fatalities involve children on school buses. However, they also note that children face the highest risk of injury while approaching or getting off of a school bus. Young children can be unpredictable, which is why it’s very important for adults to drive safely when near a school bus. 

Michigan Driving Laws & School Buses

Section 257.682 of the Michigan Vehicle Code outlines what drivers need to do when approaching a school bus. This section states that a driver meeting or overtaking a school bus that is stopped with red lights flashing must come to a full stop at least 20 feet from the bus and stay stopped until the lights on the bus are turned off or the bus is moving again. In this case, the words “overtaking” and “meeting” mean this rule applies whether a person is driving in the same direction as a bus or driving in the opposite direction. However, if you are driving on a divided roadway and see a stopped school bus headed in the opposite direction, you do not have to stop. 

In the state of Michigan, violating this law is considered a civil infraction. Michigan law also allows school buses to be equipped with cameras on stop arms that can take pictures/video of drivers who break this law, capturing information like their license plate and the date, time, and location of the infraction. 

Other Safety Tips for Drivers

Generally, it’s best for drivers to treat the lights on school buses much like they would other traffic lights. Just as flashing red lights mean drivers need to stop and flashing yellow lights mean drivers need to prepare to stop. Or if a bus has its hazard lights on, proceed with caution. 

It’s extremely important that drivers be highly aware of their surroundings when driving through areas where school buses might be, such as in residential neighborhoods and in areas near schools in the mornings and afternoons. Be particularly mindful when driving through residential streets where cars are parked on the road since children may dart out into the street between parked cars when trying to cross the street. 

During these times of day, it’s also important to be on high alert for children who might be walking home instead of riding school buses. Keep an eye out around areas where children are likely to be, such as around playgrounds or intersections with crossing guards. 

Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

It only takes a moment of driver distraction or negligence to cause serious harm to someone else. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer for help. At Scott Goodwin Law, you’ll be able to get help from an attorney experienced in helping the victims of car crashes in the state of Michigan. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.

Image: Maximilian Simson / Unsplash