Fines Increase in Minnesota for Failure to Stop for a School Bus
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has announced that the state will increase fines from $300 to $500 for motor vehicle operators who violate state law by failing to stop for school buses. While the reason why this fine has increased by $200 is uncertain, in short, the motivation for this increase is to deter the still large number of violations that occur daily endangering the lives of Minnesota’s children.
The Motivation Behind This Increase in Fines
The motivation behind this increase is to further deter motorists from not stopping for school buses. Many accidents that occur in this manner are responsible for serious injuries and even fatalities. Statistics report that 1,318 drivers violated Minnesota law in 2016 by not stopping for buses. The actual number of violations is believed to be even higher; bus drivers are tasked with writing down all violations that they witness but do not always list every single occurrence, leading to underreporting. School bus drivers can also report these violations directly to law enforcement. After the report is made, the registered owner of the vehicle will receive a ticket in the mail. Vehicle owners can receive citations even if they were not operating the motor vehicle at the time of the offense.
Minnesota Law Concerning Stopping for a Bus
In accordance with Minnesota law, motor vehicle operators must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying its flashing lights and stop arm. This law applies to drivers behind a school bus as well as most drivers who are approaching a bus from the opposite direction. The only time that motor vehicle operators are allowed to lawfully pass a bus with flashing lights is when the vehicle operator is traveling on a divided roadway in the opposite direction of the bus.
Advice for Students to Prevent Bus Accidents
There are some important pieces of advice that students should follow to avoid being struck by a vehicle. When getting off a bus, students should make sure to look in both directions to make certain that no vehicles are passing. If at all possible, anyone getting on or off the bus should make sure to maintain eye contact with the motorist that is waiting.
Contact a Seasoned Attorney
Bus accidents have the potential to seriously harm and even kill children. If you have been involved in an accident involving a school bus, seriously consider contacting O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss online or by calling 701-235-8000 or toll-free at 877-235-8002.