​Minnesota School Bus Drivers Tally Over 600 Stop-Arm Violations

​Minnesota School Bus Drivers Tally Over 600 Stop-Arm Violations Click to Enlarge

(Undated) -- Something to consider as Detroit Lakes students head back to school on Wednesday: School bus stop-arm safety.

An average of more than 600 stop-arm violations are being tallied in a single day during a bus driver survey. Drivers across the state participate annually in the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services' survey. Drivers keep track of the time of day and whether or not the vehicle passed on the right or left side of the bus. Minnesota has about two-thousand drivers who participate in the survey each year.

More children are killed outside of a school bus than they are as bus occupants. Motorists must anticipate children in a school bus “danger zone” — the area around a bus where most injuries and deaths occur.

School Bus Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights and/or its stop arm is extended when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
  • Red flashing lights on buses indicates students are either entering or exiting the bus.
  • Motorists are not required to stop for a bus if the bus is on the opposite side of a separated roadway (median, etc.) — but they should remain alert for children.
  • Altering a route or schedule to avoid a bus is one way motorists can help improve safety. In doing so, motorists won’t find themselves behind a bus and as a result, potentially putting children at risk.
  • Watch for school crossing patrols and pedestrians. Reduce speeds in and around school zones.
  • Watch and stop for pedestrians — the law applies to all street corners, for both marked and unmarked crosswalks (all street corners) — every corner is a crosswalk.

School Bus Safety Tips for Children

When waiting for the bus: Be patient, stand back from road and no running or rowdy behavior.

When on the bus: stay seated, listen to the driver and use quiet voices.

It's important for parents to discuss and demonstrate pedestrian safety with their children and reinforce safe crossing after exiting a bus:

  • When getting off a bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road).
  • Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until the driver’s face can be seen.
  • Wait for the driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.
  • Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.

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