LANSING, Mich. — School buses in Michigan can now display an electronic sign to warn other drivers when the bus stops to pick up or drop off students.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed the legislation, House Bill 4054, into law on Dec. 21. It allows school buses to be equipped with a sign that alternately flashes the words “caution” and “stopping” when the amber lights are activated, and then “stop” or “do not pass” when the red lights are activated.
Snyder said in a press release that the new measure will “help ensure that drivers will be better able to see stopped school buses, potentially preventing accidents that put both drivers and students boarding the bus at risk.”
The legislation was named the “Privacky Law” for Bruce and Antonia “Toni” Privacky of Ravenna, Michigan. The teenage siblings were killed when their car rear-ended a stopped school bus in 2011.
The tragedy prompted state Rep. Holly Hughes to pursue legislation aimed at enhancing the visibility of stopped school buses, ultimately leading to the passage of House Bill 4054.
“Losing the Privacky siblings hit the West Michigan community hard, so I want to do what I can to prevent this from happening again,” Hughes said in 2015 after introducing a previous bill.
The newly approved measure, which went into effect immediately, allows the installation of a lighted warning sign on the rear of school buses. The legislation stipulates that the sign must be sealed and weathertight, and its size has to be 23.5 by 8.75 by 1.5 inches. An additional sign can be mounted on the front of a bus that has one on the rear.
In recent years, a number of Michigan school districts have piloted Safe Fleet’s LED Driver Alert Lighting System, with the goal of reducing illegal passing of school buses.
In Michigan’s 2017 stop-arm survey, 1,474 participating school bus drivers reported a total of 839 illegal passes in one day.