Seeing a school bus is a beautiful thing. I saw the bus running its route in my neighborhood for the first time since March this week and even though I'm no longer in school, it is a comforting thing. It's a beacon of normalcy in this COVID world we have found ourselves in. Kids are going back to the classroom, either part or full time, after five months away from classmates and teachers.

Since it has been a while since we have encountered school buses on our commutes, here are a few reminders on the laws that surround them in Minnesota.

Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from the bus when the lights are flashing or the stop arm is out. This goes for cars behind the bus, and ones approaching from the opposite direction on undivided roads. Failure to do so could result in a $500 fine. And remember, NEVER pass a school bus when its lights are flashing.

Slow down and pay attention to buses. This is especially important in school zones and residential areas where kids will be loading and unloading from the bus.  Altering a route or schedule to avoid a bus is one-way motorists can help improve safety.

In 2019 there were ​625 stop-arm violations, and ​1,174 traffic citations overall involving school buses. Let's knock that number down to zero for the 2020-2021 school year. For more information on the laws surrounding school buses in Minnesota, visit the MnDot website. 

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