Chief Dave Pajnic
Cambridge Police Department
The Cambridge Police Department has been receiving complaints from school bus drivers regarding stop arm violations.
Motorists have been driving past school buses that have their red lights flashing and the stop arm extended. Violations of this type create a dangerous situation for all concerned. Cambridge Police officers have been watching for such violations and have been ticketing motorists who are observed breaking the law.
Part of the problem seems to be due to confusion over when a driver has to stop for a school bus. Most drivers have a good understanding of when to stop on a two lane street, but are not sure what is required on a four lane street, such as Main Street South.
Drivers must stop their vehicles for any school bus that has their red lights flashing and the stop arm extended. This includes four lane streets, regardless of whether you are heading the same direction as the bus or not. The only exception to this is when the lanes of the street have a dividing safety island, median, etc. If the lanes are only divided by the center lines, such as on Main Street South, all traffic in either direction must stop for the school bus.
Drivers need to be aware that not only can they be cited for these violations; they can actually be arrested and taken to jail. These are serious violations. The Cambridge Police Department asks that all drivers pay attention while driving and obey all laws, so that everyone can reach their destination safely.
In short, Minnesota State Statute 169.444 says:
When a school bus is stopped on a street or highway 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.
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 pre-warning flashing amber signals as required.