Local News

Officials Remind to Watch for School Buses and Children

Photo: MN Dept of Public Safety

Officials are reminding everyone to watch out for school buses and  children heading to and from school as the school year kicks-off.

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.

They recommend to stay back at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights and an extended stop-arm. Those who don’t face a fine of up to $500 and possible criminal charges.

The Safest Mode of Transportation for Children

In Minnesota, school buses make at least 10,000 school bus trips daily. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest mode of transportation for children — children are eight times safer riding in a bus to school than any other vehicles.
  •  In Minnesota in 2020, there was one fatality involving a school bus.
  • There were 2,773 traffic crashes involving school buses from 2016-2020. Only 225 school age children who were riding in a school bus were hurt during that time frame.

Stop for School Buses: It’s the Law!

  • State law requires all vehicles to stop for school buses when the bus driver activates the flashing lights and has the crossing arm fully extended.
  • Drivers who violate the law face a $500 fine.
  • Drivers can face criminal charges for passing a school bus on the right, passing when a child is outside the bus, or injuring or killing a child.
  • Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights or 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.
  • When getting off a bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder.
  • Wait for the bus driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.
  • When crossing the street to get on the bus or to go home, make eye contact with motorists before proceeding.
 Citations by Year
​2015 ​2016 ​2017 ​2018 ​2019 ​2020
​1,240 ​1,153 ​1,120 ​1,076 ​1,176 ​509


Annual Stop-Arm Survey
Each year, bus drivers across the state participate in a one-day stop-arm Survey
​Year ​Number of Drivers ​Number of Violations Observed
2019​ ​2,376 ​625
​2018 ​2,802 ​583
​2017 ​3,659 ​703
​2016 ​2,623 ​529
​2015 ​3,570 ​613