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Penalties for passing school buses could become stiffer under new laws

kids getting on a school bus

Michigan drivers who fail to stop for a school bus displaying its stop sign could face harsher penalties under new bills in the state Legislature.

Senate Bill 472 and House Bill 4867 were recently introduced by Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D-East Lansing) and Representative Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores).

Senator Hertel says currently, drivers who ignore school bus signals are fined $100 for their first offense.

“Obviously, the current law is not strong enough because it continues to happen,” Hertel says.

He says the legislation aims to stiffen penalties for drivers who knowingly break the law.

Hertel says they also want to educate drivers who may be unaware that they have to stop for buses.

“Obviously, people make mistakes, but when we're talking about our kids' safety, making sure that these mistakes aren't happening, and certainly aren't happening repeatedly, I think is incredibly important,” Hertel says.

The bills would raise the fine for a first offense to $250.

Subsequent offenses could cost drivers between $500 and $1,000, and lead to having their driver's license suspended.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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