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DPS awards millions in grants for school bus safety

According to state public safety officials more than 4,600 stop arm citations have been issued in Minnesota since 2017.
Credit: KARE
Stop arm signal mounted on school bus

ST PAUL, Minn — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety announced it will provide millions of dollars in grants to schools and transportation companies to improve school bus safety.

DPS says more than $3.5 million in grants will go toward Phase 1 of a larger stop arm camera project. The state legislature approved $14.7 million in funding for the project through 2023, which is slated to finance the purchase and installation of stop arm camera systems and supporting their software programs.

The cameras activate when stop arms are deployed, and capture motorists who violate state law on videotape. In Minnesota, drivers who are ticketed with a stop arm violation can face a find of up to $500.

According to DPS, more than 4,600 stop arm violations have been cited in Minnesota since 2017.

“For a parent, the thought of losing a child to a vehicle blowing past an extended school bus stop arm is unthinkable,” said Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director, in a statement. The camera grant project is a significant effort to keep kids safe, hold selfish or inattentive drivers accountable, and change dangerous driving choices.”

The concern is not new for school district officials across the state, including the Hopkins Public Schools, one of two districts in the nation in 2019 to try a new system that claimed it could predict when a vehicle would illegally pass a stopped school bus.

DPS says Phase 2 grant applications are open now through March 15. 

Click here for grant application information. 

A list of Phase 1 grant recipients can be found here.

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