School buses carry some of the most precious cargo, and because of this a motorist can face steep fines and penalties for any maneuvers that could put a school bus or its passengers at risk. One such move that we see far too often on the roadways is when a vehicle passes a school bus while its stop arm is engaged and its red stop lights are flashing. Below, we take a closer look at Minnesota Stop Arm law.
Bus Stop Arm Law
Here’s a look at how the law reads in Minnesota in regards to how motorists must engage with a school bus with it’s stop arm engaged:
When a school bus is stopped on a street or highway, or other location where signs have been erected under section 169.443 and is displaying an extended stop-signal arm and flashing red lights, the driver of a vehicle approaching the bus shall stop the vehicle at least 20 feet away from the bus. The vehicle driver shall not allow the vehicle to move until the school bus stop-signal arm is retracted and the red lights are no longer flashing, and;
No person may pass or attempt to pass a school bus in a motor vehicle on the right-hand, passenger-door side of the bus when the school bus is displaying the prewarning flashing amber signals.
Even if the school bus is in the right lane and it appears all children are waiting on that side of the street, it is still illegal to pass the bus on the left while its stop arm is engaged. Not only can you face a steep fine, but you could also face jail time if your actions result in injury or death.
Minneapolis Traffic Attorneys
A person who fails to stop a vehicle while a school bus has its stop-arm extended is guilty of a misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000. Minnesota also notes that these offenses will carry a $300 minimum fine, so know that it’s going to hurt your wallet if an officer catches you passing a school bus with its stop arm engaged.
Additionally, a person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor if they fail to stop their motor vehicle and commit either or both of the following:
- Passing or attempting to pass the school bus in a motor vehicle on the right-hand, passenger-door side of the bus.
- Passing or attempting to pass the school bus in a motor vehicle when a school child is outside of and on the street used by the school bus or on the adjacent sidewalk.
Gross misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $3,000. You can also face driver’s license restrictions and automobile insurance increases based on your individual situation, so it’s easy to see how things can spiral out of control from a cost standpoint if you drive recklessly around a school bus.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a stop arm violation, it’s in your best interest to consider contesting the charge in court. Sync up with a traffic attorney like Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm to at least learn about your options and make sure you’re not going to be in for any surprises if you plead guilty. For more information, or to set up that free consultation, give us a call today at (952) 224-2277.