UniteGPS – The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has allocated over $3.5 million to support districts in scaling school bus stop-arm cameras. Financial support will come as grants and go to 32 schools and transportation companies across the state, according to an agency press release.
In collaboration with the Minnesota State Patrol and its school bus safety advocacy, the Midwest state now joins Indiana and Florida in combating the same issue: vehicles illegally passing school buses with the extended stop-arm when picking up or dropping off students.
This initiative seeks to end reckless driving behaviors while promoting student safety as part of a sweeping stop-arm camera grant effort. State legislators in Minnesota have already budgeted $14.7 million for this year’s funding as well as 2023, with Phase 1 focusing on the purchase and installation of stop-arm cameras, including the necessary software. Grant applications for Phase 2 are also open until March 15 on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety website.
School bus stop-arm cameras in Minnesota
Law enforcement in Minnesota has cited 4,652 stop-arm violations since 2017, often working with school districts and transportation companies to address incidents. Drivers not only face a $500 fine for making illegal passes but also criminal charges if passing a bus on the right or if a student is outside, not to mention any potential injuries or fatalities.
For heightened security, school district officials encourage students to ensure that no cars are passing on the shoulder when crossing. Administrators also advise students to wait for the bus driver to indicate that it’s safe to cross, in addition to making eye contact with drivers before crossing the street.