Rep. Hughes advocating for positive reforms after tragic accident in Muskegon County

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A conversation four years ago at a visitation in Muskegon County continues to serve as a reminder to state Rep. Holly Hughes as she fights for her constituents at the state Capitol.

“Holly, I want a bus bill,” she heard in December 2011. “I don’t want this happening to any more kids.”

The request came from Bruce Privacky to Hughes after the visitation for Bruce’s only grandchildren, Bruce and Antonia “Toni” Privacky. The teenagers died from injuries sustained in a school bus-automobile accident.

In one of her first actions after being sworn into office in January 2015, Rep. Hughes introduced legislation to enhance lighting on the rear section of new school buses.

“The bill is named after the children – the ‘Privacky Law,’” Rep. Hughes said. “We do not want Bruce and Toni’s loss of their lives to be in vain. This bill is a chance to save other children’s lives.”

Rep. Hughes talked about the legislation’s importance during a mid-October news conference in Ravenna while displaying an illuminated sign that has been installed on school bus rear exit doors. It tells drivers when to stop for a school bus. The event announced a survey of bus drivers, which would note the number of vehicles being driven past a stopped bus. Illegal pass-bys happen frequently, despite the bus signal lights being on while students are entering or exiting the bus.

“We need our kids to be safe,” she said. “Originally we were just going to have Ravenna install new lighting on the back of the bus for the October bus pilot program. Ten schools, spread across the state, are participating in the study. It will give us a good sampling of how the lighting will impact drivers’ actual driving habits.”

Five states have similar legislation enacted as law. The law seeks to make clear to other drivers what to do when a bus’s yellow and red signal lights are engaged.

Safety is always the goal for Rep. Hughes and the Privacky family.

“We hope this helps somebody and prevents this from happening again,” said Nancee Privacky, the mother of Bruce and Antonia “Toni” Privacky.