(KNSI) – School buses are once again a fixture on area roads, meaning drivers need to relearn the ABCs of safety.
Summer vacation tends to make motorists nonchalant, and Minnesota State Patrol Lieutenant Brian Rue says now is a great time to go over the basics of how to react when a bus is nearby.
“When you do see the buses out and when the yellow lights come on up on top, it means that bus is going to be stopping soon. So prepare to stop. That way, when they do stop, the stop arm comes out, and the red lights flash, you’re able to stop safely, and the kids can cross the road to get on and off the bus.”
You have to keep at least 20 feet from a bus when it is loading or unloading. Many districts, including in the St. Cloud area, have received grants to install stop-arm cameras. Violators are now being caught, even if law enforcement is not around. The number of citations is going up. Penalties could include criminal charges and up to a $500 fine.
Rue is the MSP’s pupil transportation safety director. He says the agency inspects over 18,000 buses to ensure they are in good working order.
“I mean, we’re looking at the general body, steering, all that good stuff. But also all the lights, especially to include the — we call them the eight-way lights or the flashing red and yellow lights, the stop arm, a lot of the buses have the crossing gates. We’re making sure all of that equipment’s working.”
Every bus in Minnesota is inspected at least once a year.
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