Ask a trooper

Question: I know I heard this before but just wanting clarification please. Isn’t it a school bus driver’s discretion when to use or not use the strobe light on a school bus? I work for a school bus company and am a master trainer and have had a few people question this.

 

Answer: Correct, there is no longer a requirement that a bus driver must use the strobe light for any atmospheric or terrain issues. They can run them whenever they want on a school bus. Perhaps the bus company or the school may have their own policy on what they prefer.

 Here are some additional reminders with school just around the corner:

• 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.

• 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

• 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.

 

Students

• When getting off a bus, look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder.

• Before crossing the street, take five “giant steps” out from the front of the bus, or until you can see the bus driver’s face. Wait for the bus driver to signal that it’s safe to cross.

• Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to make sure traffic is stopped. Keep watching traffic when crossing.

• When crossing the street to get on the bus or to go home, make eye contact with motorists before proceeding.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws in Minnesota, please send your questions to: Trooper Jesse Grabow, Minnesota State Patrol,1000 Hwy. 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501 or reach me at jesse.grabow@state.mn.us

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