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      Confused drivers jeopardizing school bus safety

      The Traverse City Area Public School District is dealing with a couple of problems when it comes to what drivers need to know when they are sharing the road with school buses.

      Some drivers don't pass when they are able to during hazard light stops, and others are passing when they shouldn't when red lights are flashing.

      â??They don't know what do to around the school bus,â?? said Christine Thomas-Hill, TCAPS Director of Transportation.

      This is the first year TCAPS has started using hazard light stops. Drivers are allowed to pass the school bus when the hazards are flashing.

      â??Studies have found that the more you try to control traffic the more accidents occur.â??

      The hazard light stops are used to keep traffic flowing on routes that have frequent stops.

      â??You'll never see a bus doing a hazard light stop and then having them cross a student in front of the bus.â??

      Hazard light stops are not being used in every school district. If you've driven throughout Cadillac and Petoskey chances are you haven't seen buses use this kind of stop.

      While some drivers are stopping when they don't actually need to, others are ignoring these warnings and driving around the bus.

      â??There's nothing scarier than sitting in the drivers seat and seeing a car running your reds and you have a student outside waiting for you to give them a all clear to cross the road.â??

      If it's found that a driver did ignore a red bus light it could cost that person $225 dollars and three points on their license. So far this school year TCAPS has documented 48 bus light runners.

      â??A lot of people mention that they observe the bus. They saw the bus pull over but didn't see any red lights and they didn't know what they were supposed to do so they continued to go around,â?? said Deputy Josh Wolf from the Grand Traverse Sheriff's Department.

      â??Would you run the reds of a school bus if your kid or grandkid was on the bus? I don't think so. I think you'd want to make sure they were safe,â?? said Thomas-Hill.

      TCAPS is planning on ordering more buses with two stops signs both in the front and in the back of the bus. Theyâ??re hoping this will reduce the number of red bus light runners.