By Annette Christie
Coloma Township Police activity
For the month of September, the Coloma Township Police department had 210 total complaints investigated. They made 21 arrests including two for felonies. Activity included 70 traffic stops in which 14 citations were issued. Of the complaints investigated there were 32 non-criminal assists, 17 suspicious situations, six retail frauds, nine family situations, seven non-aggravated assault, and 34 assists to other agencies.
Watervliet Township Police activity
For the month of August there were 16 misdemeanor arrests and four felony arrests made in Watervliet Township. They had 56 complaints in all and nine follow ups from previous complaints. Between Deputies Puffer and Goff there were 15 traffic stops made, 27 assists to other agencies, 103 building checks, and one motorist assist. For the month of September the pair had 41 original complaints and five follow ups. There were 21 misdemeanor arrests and five felony arrests including one drunk driver. There were 34 traffic stops made with 36 citations being issued. Puffer noted that there have been some storage unit breaking and enterings going on in the township and that they do have a person of interest that they are working on.
School Bus Safety Week; School zone safety laws & tips
The Sheriff’s Office wants to educate and raise awareness about school zone safety laws in order to prevent a tragedy. School zones combined with changing traffic and weather conditions create an extremely dangerous situation. “Back to school is an exciting time for both parents and students, but we must remember to put safety first,” said Sheriff Paul Bailey. “We hope by setting up these school safety enforcement zones we can push back on violators who ignore speed limits and who do not stop for school buses. Preventing any tragedy involving our kids is the number one priority.” They strongly urge drivers to slow down and allow additional drive time to scheduled destinations and to stay absolutely focused on driving tasks. The following bus stop and distracted driving tips may save a life! School buses use two types of stop procedures while children are boarding and exiting the bus:
RED LIGHT STOPS
School buses use overhead yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop. The red overhead flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm signals to motorists that the bus is stopped and children are getting on or off the bus. All 50 states have a law making it illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children while displaying the red overhead flashing lights and extended stop sign. All 50 states require that traffic in both directions stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus during a red light stop. In Michigan, a divided highway means divided by a physical barrier such as a raised median or guard rail. You must stop for school buses on five lane highways with only a turn lane separating traffic.
YELLOW HAZARD LIGHT STOPS
School buses use low yellow hazard lights (located just below the windshield and back windows) to alert motorists that they are pulling off the roadway in preparation for a hazard stop. This type of stop is only done when students do not have to cross a roadway while getting on or off the bus and the bus can safely pull out of the traffic lane. These types of stops are typical on busy roads to help traffic flow around the bus and prevent traffic backups. Motorist can proceed slowly around a school bus on the left side when only the hazard lights are on. Never pass a school bus on the right. It is illegal and could have tragic consequences. A person found responsible for violating this civil infraction may be fined up to $500 and may be ordered to perform up to 100 hours of community service at a school. Be alert. Children are unpredictable. Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street. The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus. Slogan to remember: “Lights up TOP you must STOP – Lights down LOW you may proceed SLOW”. Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. While driving do you text message, use your cell phone, eat – drink, or read? Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind. Parents who use cell phones while driving are endangering their children and others. But just as important, it teaches young people that this behavior is OK when in fact it may be illegal and harmful to their health and welfare. Eleven percent of all drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted. Forty percent of all American teens say they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. A person found guilty by the court of distracting driving or using a mobile device while driving is responsible for a civil infraction with a fine up to $200.