Fines for drivers who run school bus stop arms went up to $500 on Aug. 1 and a video released Monday by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows why.
The video shows a pick up truck passing a bus that was stopped with its red lights flashing and stop arm deployed, narrowing missing an 11-year-old girl who was crossing the street in front of the bus. The bus driver honked the horn to get the girl's attention to alert the Rosemount sixth grader to the passing vehicle and avoid injury or possible death.
The driver was fined for the violation, which occurred last December.
In another case, three Rogers High School students were seriously hurt last year when a driver failed to stop for a school bus picking up students.
Cases such as the ones in Rosemount and Rogers are a chronic problem, officials say. Since 2011, police have issues more than 8,700 tickets to drivers who violated the law, which requires motorists to stop for school buses when the bus driver activates the flashing lights and has the crossing arm fully extended.
On Aug. 1, the fine rose from $300 to $500 for the violation.
In Minnesota, motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights and a stop arm when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
- Motorists should slow down, pay attention and anticipate school children and buses, especially in neighborhoods and school zones.
- The best way to be aware of your surroundings at all times is to put the distractions away.