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School Bus Safety Tips From a Minnesota Accident Lawyer

Matthew E. Steinbrink - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyOctober 13, 2015

School Bus Safety Tips From a Minnesota Accident Lawyer

This week is National School Bus Safety Week (October 19-23, 2015).

I have been a Minnesota accident lawyer over ten years and wanted to take this opportunity to pass along some safety tips for motorists who encounter a school bus.

School buses in Minnesota make at least 10,000 bus trips daily. School buses are the safest way to get to and from school. Riding a bus to school is 13 times safer than riding in a family vehicle and 10 times safer than walking.

Here are some tips to ensure our Minnesota students have a safe ride:

  • Always use extra caution whenever a school bus is near
  • Be alert for school children in the area and in the danger zone
  • Reduce speed and be prepared to stop for a school bus
  • Be aware of school zones and pedestrians at or near school crosswalks

It's also important to know what it means when the flashing amber or flashing red lights of a school bus are activated.

Flashing Amber Lights:

  • The purpose of the flashing amber lights is to warn other drivers that school bus is preparing to load or unload students.
  • A school bus driver is required (with some exceptions) to activate the amber flashing lights at least 100 feet before stopping in a speed zone of 35 mph or less, and at least 300 feet before stopping in a speed zone of more than 35 mph.
  • It is a gross misdemeanor to pass or attempt to pass on the right side of a school bus displaying the amber flashing warning lights.
  • Upon observing a school bus displaying flashing amber lights be extra alert for children in the area and be prepared to stop.

Flashing Red Lights and Stop Arm:

  • Red flashing lights on buses indicate students are either entering or exiting the bus.
  • When the school bus is stopped with its flashing red lights activated and its stop arm extended, traffic from both directions must stop at least 20 feet away from the school bus.
  • Motorists must remain stopped until the stop arm is retracted and the red lights are no longer flashing.
  • The only time motorists are not required to stop for a school bus with its red lights flashing is when the bus is on a separate roadway. A separate roadway means a road that is separated from a parallel road by a safety isle or safety zone.
  • Penalties for school bus violations can be substantial. From a fine of not less than $300, to a fine of $3000 and one year in jail, along with drivers license suspension.

If you or loved one are involved in a pedestrian or bus accident it is important to consult with an experienced Minnesota accident attorney as soon as possible. Call or submit your case inquiry online 24/7. We're here to help.

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