Start Of School Has Authorities Reminding Everyone Of School Bus Stop Arm Law

Thu 8-23-2018

(Spirit Lake)-- It's back to school time and that has officials reminding everyone to play it safe around buses. Trooper Vince Kurtz of the Iowa State Patrol says it's time for a refresher when it comes to the school bus stop arm law...Kurtz01 (1) 

"When you see that school bus the first thing that's going to be coming on are those yellow flashing lights. That tells motorists to slow down and be prepared to stop. If you're following a bus you are not able to pass the bus at this time. If you're meeting the school bus with the yellow lights on, you need to slow down to atleast 20 mph as you go by, and be prepared to stop because it's going to be the red lights that come on next with the stop sign and that's where both directions of traffic are required to stop for that school bus. Until the red lights go off and the students are clear from the area."

Kurtz says violators are subject to some stiff penalties...Kurtz02 (1) 

"You're looking at about a $750 fine, a 30 day license suspension, up to 30 days in jail and the possibility that your insurance company could cancel your insurance coverage. So those are all significant issues that you would be looking at if you violate this law. But again the worse case scenario that we're trying to avoid is a child getting hit by a car."

Kurtz adds it isn't just law enforcement officers who are on the lookout for violators...Kurtz03 (1) 

"This is a violation that when observed by a school bus driver, can be reported to law enforcement and enforcement action can be taken just based off of the testimony of the school bus driver. On top of that, a lot of our schools around the area are starting to get more of the camera systems that catch these violations on camera and make these prosecutions a lot easier. So it's good for motorists to know that, that we are serious about enforcing this law and will take action to protect our students as they're getting on and off the buses."

In addition, Kurtz says motorists also need to exercise extreme caution in school crossing zones.