Defenders catch Metro Detroit drivers blowing past stopped school buses loading children
Troy police try to catch lawbreakers
TROY, Mich. – The Local 4 Defenders joined police to capture video of Metro Detroit drivers blowing past stopped school buses loading and unloading children.
As the weather warms up, drivers are starting to speed up, and that's causing some real issues for school bus drivers.
Bus drivers have been calling Local 4 to report cars zooming past them, even when they have their lights on, stop signs out and children getting on or off the bus.
Local 4 Defender Karen Drew decided to catch the lawbreakers with cameras rolling.
"Well, we're at Long Lake and Summerton," Troy police Officer Milt Stansbury said. "The bus should be here at 7:38."
Karen joined Stansburg on a Friday morning as he watched and waited for the bus.
The bus stopped on Long Lake Road. The stop sign went out and the flashing lights turned on. While children were boarding, two drivers blew past.
"Woah, he blew it," Karen said.
"There's this one, too," Stansburg said.
As other drivers honked at the lawbreakers, Stansbury caught up to one driver and told her to pull over. He also pulled over the second driver who blew past the school bus.
"Hello, did you not see that school bus?" he asked.
"I did, and I was just a little confused if I was to stop going this way or if it was for the people stopping going that way," the driver said.
The other driver had a similar remark.
"So you really didn't know that you had to stop for the school bus in both directions?" Stansbury asked.
"Yeah, I was really confused," the driver said.
Drivers who get busted passing a stopped school bus in Troy get a $255 ticket.
"I'm not, like, on TV am I?" the woman asked.
"Absolutely zero tolerance," Stansbury said. "I know our court or across the board, judges and magistrates are all on board. They have zero tolerance for it."
It was a busy morning moving from bus stop to bus stop.
"We're going to go to Livernois and Evaline," Stansbury said. "We've got a Rochester and Harris stop not too far away."
Another Troy police officer helped hand out the tickets after Stansbury pulled over other drivers, allowing Stansbury to get to the next location.
"This is a really terrible bus stop area right here," mother Jessica Cummins said.
Cummins said she's been complaining about speeding drivers at her daughter's Rochester Road bus stop.
"Every morning," Cummins said. "It seems to be the first two lanes closest to the bus stop and the last one always (speeds) by."
When the bus pulled up, the Defenders witnessed four cars blow past.
"You're going to pull him over, too?" Karen asked.
"Heck yeah," Stansbury said. "That's not stopping for the bus."
"Did you not see the yellow bus turn its lights on?" Stansbury asked the driver.
"I don't know," the driver said. "I guess I saw him when I was right next to him so I kind of just, like, you saw that I stopped, right?"
"Yeah, the law says 20 feet from the bus," Stansbury said. "That's not 20 feet, right?"
Claiming not to have seen a stopped school buss with flashing lights is never a good excuse, according to police.
"How can you not see it?" Stansbury said. "It's not obscure. It's very conspicuous, a school bus. They were designed that way."
One school bus was stopped with its lights on when a gray minivan drove past. Traffic is required to stop in both directions, so the driver got pulled over.
"Hi, did you not see the school bus stopped?" Stansbury asked.
"Oh no," she said. "I didn't realize that (I had to stop on) the other side."
"Because kids cross streets, you know?" Stansbury said.
"I know but that's the main road," the driver said. "They're not supposed to do that."
"Well, they're not supposed to, but kids are kids, right?" Stansbury said.
In all, the Defenders did surveillance at five bus stops that morning. All but one had drivers blow past the bus while it was loading children.
"What do the yellow lights mean on a bus?" Stansbury asked a driver.
"Caution," the driver said.
"What does caution mean?" Stansbury asked. "Prepare to stop."
"I was, actually," the driver said.
"No, you weren't," Stansbury said.
"I didn't stop," the driver said.
"Those lights were on long before you even got to the bus," Stansbury said. "Let me see that license."
"No, I'm sorry. I apologize," the driver said.
Troy officials are taking the issue very seriously. Several tickets were handed out that morning. So far in 2019, Troy police have handed out 44 citations for drivers who didn't stop for school buses.
When the yellow lights on a school bus come on, drivers must prepare to stop in both directions, police said.
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