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.