The new school year has begun, with kids and families now fully back into their routines.  The Minnesota Department of Transportation wants to make sure that motorists are back in the habit of driving safely around schools and school buses.

MnDOT says that each year, more kids are tragically killed outside of school buses than inside as occupants.  Motorists have got to play it safe and be extra attentive around schools and school buses.

Not only does driving safely save lives, it's the law.  The fine for violating the school bus stop arm law is $500 and I would argue that it's not enough by at least half.

MNDOT offers the following safety tips for drivers who share the road with buses:

  • Stop at least 20 feet from a school bus that is displaying red flashing lights and/or has its stop arm extended, both when approaching from the rear and from the opposite direction on undivided roads.
  • Reduce speeds in and around school zones.
  • Watch and stop for pedestrians and school crossing patrols— motorists must stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, at street intersections (marked or not) and in parking lots.

If you see a motorist driving recklessly, please call '911' immediately and report them to the authorities.  I also think it's important for parents to talk to kids about looking out for cars even when the bus lights are blinking and the stop sign is out.