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School Bus Safety

For years, we have reminded drivers through various communication channels, most recently via Twitter, to pay attention at bus stops and when approaching a school bus with its red lights on and stop sign out.

The depiction to the left gives great guidance when approaching stopped buses. In a nutshell, you must stop in these cases, and in opposing lanes, unless there is a curb or center median between your lanes and the bus.

Last week, a frustrated father emailed me two videos of numerous violators of the school bus stop arm law. The bus was S/B on Lexington, just south of County Road C.

In the two short videos, six drivers jeopardized the safety of the schoolchildren and sailed right past the stopped school bus with stop arm extended and red lights illuminated. The driver of the bus even honked the bus horn as cars continued past. This infuriated the father enough to email me the videos. I was shocked and dismayed at the drivers’ lack of concern and attention.

Just the first car of many to pass by without stopping

Just the first car of many to pass by without stopping

Since the beginning of this school year, the day patrol crews have been giving special attention to the morning bus stops. Their time to monitor the afternoon bus stop schedules is lessened due to police calls for service that increase in the afternoon as Roseville wakes up. They did pay special attention to this afternoon bus stop recently.

The officers told me there were two common excuses why drivers did not stop; the driver did not think he or she needed to stop when in the opposing lane (wrong answer) and, some drivers did not see the stopped school bus. Yes, you read it correctly; they did not see the large, yellow bus with red lights flashing. What did they see…their cell phones?

How bad would you feel if you struck a child, especially when you were at fault? The fines are expensive too.

This post was originally published as part of the October 6, 2017 edition of Chief Mathwig’s newsletter, One Chief’s Perspective.

Rick Mathwig
Chief of Police
Roseville Police Department, Minnesota