Nearly $3 Million for School Bus Stop Arm Cameras to Help with SafetyOct 01, 2022 01:25PM ● By Editor
Watch the Stop Arm Safety Video here
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) announced a third phase of grants for school bus stop arm camera systems. DPS-OTS is partnering with the Minnesota State Patrol and local police and sheriff departments across the state for an additional $2.9 million in grants to 21 schools and transportation companies.
“As a driver, impatience or distraction behind the wheel is a potential killer around a school bus,” said DPS-OTS Director Mike Hanson. “The violations and near misses when a driver nearly takes the life of a child are so frightening and disturbing. Think about that child. Think about that child’s parents, bus driver or other students on the bus. The stop arm camera project will help educate drivers on the importance of school bus safety and hold them accountable if they choose to endanger young lives.”
Education and awareness are part of the project to help drivers make the safe decision to obey the law and stop for buses with flashing lights and stop arms extended. The cameras will help schools and law enforcement find the violators and hold them accountable.
- This round of grant awards represents Phase 3 of a larger stop arm camera grant project. Here is the list of Phase 3 grantees.
- Previously, DPS-OTS announced:
- Phase 1 grant awards of more than $3.5 million to 31 schools and transportation companies in February 2022.
- Phase 2 grant awards of more than $3.7 million to 42 schools and transportation companies in July 2022.
- Minnesota state legislators approved $14.7 million in total funding for this project for 2022 and 2023. Applications for Phase 4 grants are now in the review process and the Phase 5 grant application process is pending.
- The grants will reimburse schools and transportation companies for purchasing and installing stop arm camera systems and supporting software programs.
Law enforcement agencies work with schools and transportation companies to cite drivers failing to stop for school buses with flashing lights and stop arms extended. In the past five years, law enforcement cited 4,652 drivers for stop arm violations.
- 2017 – 1,120 violations
- 2018 – 1,075 violations
- 2019 – 1,176 violations
- 2020 – 512 violations
- 2021 – 769 violations
The National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services conducts an annual illegal passing survey in Minnesota. For the one-day survey this year, school bus drivers observed 1,003 stop arm violations in a single day.
|Year||Number of School Bus Drivers||Number of Violations Observed in One Day|
Follow the Law, Keep Children Safe
- State law requires all vehicles to stop for school buses when the bus driver activates the flashing lights and has the stop 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.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) comprises 10 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Office of Traffic Safety
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. These efforts form a strong foundation for the statewide Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program. DPS-OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program, child seats for needy families program and school bus stop arm camera project.