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School Bus safety tips for motorists, parents and children

Ask a Trooper
Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol

With the school year quickly approaching I would like to focus on the safety of our children. Following the guidelines below will help keep children safe around school buses.
School bus safety tips for motorists:
Motorists must stop at least 20 feet from a school bus displaying red flashing lights and/or its stop arm is extended.  This is important not only when approaching a school bus from the rear, but also when approaching the bus from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
•Red flashing lights on buses indicates that students are either entering or exiting the bus.
•Motorists are not required to stop for a bus if the bus is on the opposite side of a separated roadway (median, etc.) — but they should remain alert for children.
•Altering a route or schedule to avoid a bus is one way motorists can help improve safety. In doing so, motorists won’t find themselves behind a bus, potentially eliminating risk to children.
•Always reduce speeds in and around school zones.
•Watch and stop for school crossings and pedestrians — the law applies to all street corners and for both marked and unmarked crosswalks (all street corners) — every corner is a crosswalk. 
School bus safety tips for children:
Parents should discuss and demonstrate pedestrian safety with their children and reinforce safe crossing after exiting a bus:
•When exiting a bus, always look to be sure no cars are passing on the shoulder (side of the road).
•Make eye contact with the bus driver and cross when the driver signals that it is safe.
•Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the bus to be sure traffic is stopped. Continue to watch for changes in traffic while crossing.
Traffic safety is a two-way street and everyone has an investment. 
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober.  Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.
If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, Minnesota 55901-5848, or reach him at

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