Every year, we get calls about people violating school and bus crossing aids. I thought I would remind everyone about the laws and reasons these crossing aids are in place.

Every year, we get calls about people violating school and bus crossing aids. I thought I would remind everyone about the laws and reasons these crossing aids are in place.

If a school bus has it’s stop sign extended, and/or red lights flashing, then any vehicle in front or behind needs to stop 20 feet away from the bus. If an approaching vehicle is on the other side of a divided road, it does not need to stop. Vehicles cannot move until the stop sign is retracted and the red lights are shut off.

Walking pedestrians have the right of way on Minnesota roads. If someone is waiting to cross, traffic needs to stop to allow the crossing. It is a further crime if school crossing flags are extended by crossing guards.

The big reason for these violations is something I have talked about before. People are in a hurry and not paying attention to what they should. I am willing to bet anyone that has violated a school bus or crossing guard, would not have if they had been calm and paying attention. I would hope no one is purposely violating these laws.

It comes down to people taking just a little more time and paying attention. It is easy to forget how dangerous a car is. It takes almost nothing for a motor vehicle to cause massive damage, but still we see people drive them while not paying attention. If I told you that if you didn’t pay attention on a drive you would hit a pedestrian, you would pay extra attention to prevent hurting someone. That reality is present every time we drive inattentively and/or too fast—we just don’t have a negative outcome very often, so we don’t adjust. It only takes one time to destroy lives.

At Sleepy Eye Public School there is a further safety ordinance in place to keep kids safe. If the school bus zone arms are across 4th Avenue SW, then it is a crime for a vehicle other than a bus to drive through them. If the arms are extended, go around on Highway 4. The entire detour takes an extra 30 seconds. Public School has also attempted to keep students safe by requiring that any vehicle dropping kids off in the parking lot to park in an open space. This is so students don’t have to cross between cars that are starting and stopping. Again, just take the extra little bit of time to keep people safe.