Q: With some schools opening back up, I am starting to see more school buses on the road the past few days. Can you talk about the laws for failing to stop for a school bus and what law enforcement is doing to help keep students safe?
A: This is a great time to talk about school bus safety.
In Minnesota, school buses make at least 10,000 school bus trips daily. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for children — children are eight times safer riding in a bus to school than any other vehicles.
In 2019, there was one fatality involving a school bus. There were 3,220 traffic crashes involving school buses from 2015-2019. Only 272 school-age children who were riding in a school bus were hurt during that time frame.
Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights and a stop-arm extended when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
Law enforcement across the state issued nearly 1,200 stop-arm violation citations in 2019. Failing to stop for a school bus is not only illegal, but it puts our children at risk. The fine for a school bus stop-arm violation is a minimum of $500.
Many school buses are equipped with video cameras and this footage can be used as evidence against a driver if a violation has occurred.
Motorists should slow down, pay attention and anticipate school children and buses, especially in neighborhoods and school zones.
Here is a video link that explains school bus stop arm safety in detail: https://youtu.be/AwKQ2GpsNFE.