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Minnesota to Increase Fines for Illegal School Bus Passing

The state Department of Public Safety said motorists who illegally pass stopped school buses with their stop arms out and red lights flashing face $500 fines starting Aug. 1. Citations will increase from $300 per incident.

DPS said 3,659 school bus drivers reported 703 stop-arm violations during a one-day count earlier this year as part of the annual School Bus Stop Arm Survey, which is promoted nationally by the National Association for State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services.

Over the past nine years, law enforcement has written nearly 8,800 tickets to motorists for not stopping for school buses.

“Too often motorists ignore the school bus laws or are too distracted that they don’t see the bus picking up or dropping off children until it’s too late,” said Col. Matt Langer, chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. “When motorists violate the law, it puts the lives of children at risk. Drivers should always be looking out for school buses and expect those buses to make frequent stops during the morning and afternoon school hours. Pay attention and stop for buses to help keep our children safe.”

Minnesota state law requires motorists traveling each way on an undivided road to stop at least 20 feet from a school bus when picking up or dropping off students. DPS urges motorists to slow down when driving in school zones or encountering school buses and to avoid any distractions.

DPS advises students to be sure no vehicles are attempting to pass on the shoulder before getting off the school bus and to wait for the bus driver’s signal that it is safe to cross the street. DPS also said students should always attempt to make eye contact with motorists before proceeding across the street.

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