More Minnesota school districts getting cameras on school bus stop arms
ST. PAUL (Valley News Live) - The Minnesota Department of Public Safety just announced a third phase of grants for school bus stop arm cameras for school districts across the state. An additional $2.9 million in grants will be distributed 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.”
Lake of the Woods, Lake Park Audubon and New York Mills Public Schools are all included in this round of grant awards. In phase 1, more than $3.5 million was distributed to 31 schools and $3.7 million was awarded to 42 schools in phase 2.
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.
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|
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. Criminal charges are also possible for passing a school bus on the right, passing when a child is outside the bus, or injuring or killing a child.
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