The Brighton Police Dept. recently established patrols along the main thoroughfares and school bus routes in town to catch drivers that don’t stop for school buses. Brighton Police Chief Rob Bradford says the patrols have been established because — despite laws that people should be familiar with on the subject — a high percentage of drivers do not stop for school buses when the buses stop and engage their flashing lights and stop signs to pick up and drop off students.

Bradford says the problem is particularly serious on Grand River. He says that since there are several lanes, many drivers have the idea that they don’t have to stop, even if they are going in the same direction as the school bus. However, Bradford tells WHMI that’s illegal, and poses a hazard to children riding the bus. The rule in Michigan is that vehicles must stop at least 20 feet away from the bus when its red lights are flashing. Bradford says that on a multi-lane road like Grand River, drivers don’t have to change lanes, but must come to a complete stop when they get near the school bus. Bradford says that on roads that have more than two lanes, drivers must stop for the stopped school bus, regardless of whether they are going in the same direction or not.

The problem first came to Bradford’s attention when school bus drivers told the school police liaison officer that many drivers were ignoring the rule about stopping for a stopped school bus and were zooming past, placing the students in potentially dangerous situations. Bradford says that they’ve been lucky, since there has been only one minor accident and no injuries thus far this school year. Since the program began in the fall, several citations have been issued to offending drivers. The police chief says Brighton City Police will continue to assist Brighton Area Schools bus drivers on all bus routes in town until the end of the school year next June. (TT)