School is right around the corner and soon you'll be seeing the big yellow (or is it orange? That's a debate for another time) school bus picking kids up and dropping them off all around central Minnesota. Do you know your stuff when it comes to Minnesota school bus laws? Here's everything you need to know to prepare yourself for the back to school rush.

  • When children are entering or exiting the bus and the stop sign is extended, drivers MUST stop at least 20 feet away from the bus.  Drivers aren't allowed to move until the stop sign is no longer extended and the bus's red lights are no longer flashing.
  • You're also not allowed to pass a school bus on the right-hand side when the bus is flashing their pre-warning lights. If you don't stop for the school bus you're guilty of a misdemeanor which also comes with a recently increased $500 fine.
  • There's one exception to this rule. According to Minnesota's school bus law, "A person driving a vehicle on a street or highway with separated roadways is not required to stop the vehicle when approaching or meeting a school bus that is on a different roadway."

Keep in mind, the new Hands Free law went into effect in Minnesota on August 1. Keep your hands free and your eyes on the road.

What happens if you violate the school bus laws? Well, let's just say police can arrest you within four hours of you failing to stop for  school bus if they have probable cause. They don't have to be the ones to catch you in the act. The bus driver can report you. Owners and lessees are also liable even if they aren't the ones that did the offense. Keep that in mind next time you lend someone your vehicle.

The moral of the story is, stop for the school buses and you'll have nothing to worry about. Let's all have a safe journey back to school.

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