Failing to stop for a school bus that has its lights flashing is not only dangerous, it's about to be more expensive than ever.
The fine is increasing from $300 to $500 beginning Aug. 1, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced this week.
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.
And you need to leave room for the kids to cross – drivers are supposed to stop at least 20 feet away from a bus that is displaying red flashing lights or a stop arm, the DPS says.
The number of drivers failing to stop continues to be a serious issue that risks children's lives.
“Too often motorists ignore the school bus laws or are too distracted that they don’t see the bus picking up or dropping off children until it’s too late,” Col. Matt Langer, Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol said in the release.
“When motorists violate the law, it puts the lives of children at risk. Drivers should always be looking out for school buses and expect those buses to make frequent stops during the morning and afternoon school hours. Pay attention and stop for buses to help keep our children safe.
There's been a lot of citations
Earlier this year, the DPS asked 3,659 bus drivers across the state to keep track of violations for a day.
The result? A whopping 703 stop arm violations in just one day.
Last year, Minnesota officers wrote 1,318 of those citations. And over the past six years, there's been nearly 9,000.