Eden Prairie police remind drivers of school bus stop-arm laws

This week, students in Eden Prairie headed back to school. Eden Prairie Police Department took the chance to remind motorists of the importance of stopping for school bus stop-arms.

The law requires that drivers in both directions stop at least 20 feet away when they see a school bus with its red lights flashing and its stop-arm extended. The fine for failing to stop increased this summer from $300 to $500.

It is important to note that school bus drivers can report these violations directly to the police department. The registered owner of the vehicle driven during the violation can receive a ticket in the mail, even if they were not driving the vehicle at the time of the offense.

The only time it is legal or safe to pass a bus with flashing lights is when a driver approaches the stopped bus from the opposite direction on a divided roadway. Opposite directions of traffic on divided roadways are separated from one another by an unpaved space or a raised median or other physical barrier.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reports that 1,318 drivers violated school bus stop-arm laws in 2016. To date in 2017, the police department has received 35 reports of stop-arm violations. That is a significant number considering school has been out of session for three of those months.

The police department asks to help keep students safe by stopping for the stop-arm.