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Reminder to Michigan drivers: drive safely around school buses

Fall is upon us here in Michigan and that means children have headed back to school. The start of the school year is significant for adults, too, and not only because they are adjusting to new schedules with their kids in school much of the day. The school year brings with it new driving concerns.

Many Michigan drivers need to pay attention to school safety zones and crosswalks, which have decreased speed limits, and they may also want to adjust their typical driving routes in order to stay off of the school bus routes. If they are going to drive on school bus routes during the morning or late afternoon commute, it is very important to be patient and not to be tempted to pass a school bus. Passing school buses is gravely dangerous.

While, fortunately, it does not happen with much frequency, school children are sometimes struck by cars that pass school buses. This is an incredible risk and drivers should avoid passing school buses to avoid this.

In 2005 alone, 134 people were killed in school bus-related crashes and about 11,000 people were injured, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration.

Drivers should also be aware that when a school bus flashes red lights, motorists on both sides of the road must stop. This is because school children may cross the street.

Officials have also warned drivers against using cell phones near school buses or school safety zones.

The safety of children should never be compromised so that someone can take a phone call, send a text or get to work faster. By driving safe, following traffic laws and refraining from becoming distracted behind the wheel, Michigan area drivers can help ensure no children are hurt while getting on or off the school bus this year.

Source: MLive.com, "School safety: Saginaw Township police offer tips on driving near school buses," Lindsay Knake, Sept. 3, 2012

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