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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

169.444 SAFETY OF SCHOOL CHILDREN; DUTIES OF OTHER DRIVERS.
    Subdivision 1. Children getting on or off school bus. When a school bus is stopped on
a street or highway, or other location where signs have been erected under section 169.443,
subdivision 2
, paragraph (b), and is displaying an extended stop-signal arm and flashing red lights,
the driver of a vehicle approaching the bus shall stop the vehicle at least 20 feet away from the
bus. The vehicle driver shall not allow the vehicle to move until the school bus stop-signal arm is
retracted and the red lights are no longer flashing.
    Subd. 1a. Passing on right. No person may pass or attempt to pass a school bus in a motor
vehicle on the right-hand, passenger-door side of the bus when the school bus is displaying the
prewarning flashing amber signals as required in section 169.443, subdivision 1.
    Subd. 2. Violations by drivers; penalties. (a) A person who fails to stop a vehicle or to keep
it stopped, as required in subdivision 1, or who violates subdivision 1a, is guilty of a misdemeanor
punishable by a fine of not less than $300.
(b) A person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor if the person fails to stop a motor vehicle or
to keep it stopped, as required in subdivision 1, or who violates subdivision 1a, and commits
either or both of the following acts:
(1) passes or attempts to pass the school bus in a motor vehicle on the right-hand,
passenger-door side of the bus; or
(2) passes or attempts to pass the school bus in a motor vehicle when a school child is outside
of and on the street or highway used by the school bus or on the adjacent sidewalk.
    Subd. 3. Prosecutor. (a) The attorney in the jurisdiction in which the violation occurred who
is responsible for prosecution of misdemeanor violations of this section shall also be responsible
for prosecution of gross misdemeanor violations of this section.
(b) When an attorney responsible for prosecuting gross misdemeanors under this section
requests criminal history information relating to prior convictions under this section from a court,
the court must furnish the information without charge.
    Subd. 4. Exception for separated roadway. (a) A person driving a vehicle on a street or
highway with separated roadways is not required to stop the vehicle when approaching or meeting
a school bus that is on a different roadway.
(b) "Separated roadway" means a road that is separated from a parallel road by a safety isle
or safety zone.
    Subd. 5. Cause for arrest. A peace officer may arrest the driver of a motor vehicle if the
peace officer has probable cause to believe that the driver has operated the vehicle in violation of
subdivision 1 or 1a within the past four hours.
    Subd. 6. Violation; penalty for owner or lessee. (a) If a motor vehicle is operated in
violation of subdivision 1 or 1a, the owner of the vehicle, or for a leased motor vehicle the lessee
of the vehicle, is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
(b) The owner or lessee may not be fined under paragraph (a) if (1) another person is
convicted for that violation, or (2) the motor vehicle was stolen at the time of the violation.
(c) Paragraph (a) does not apply to a lessor of a motor vehicle if the lessor keeps a record of
the name and address of the lessee.
(d) Paragraph (a) does not prohibit or limit the prosecution of a motor vehicle operator for
violating subdivision 1 or 1a.
(e) A violation under paragraph (a) does not constitute grounds for revocation or suspension
of the owner's or lessee's driver's license.
    Subd. 7. Evidentiary presumption. (a) There is a rebuttable presumption that signals
described in section 169.442 were in working order and operable when a violation of subdivision
1, 1a, 2, or 5 was allegedly committed, if the signals of the applicable school bus were inspected
and visually found to be in working order and operable within 12 hours preceding the incident
giving rise to the violation.
(b) There is a rebuttable presumption that a motor vehicle outwardly equipped and identified
as a school bus satisfies all of the identification and equipment requirements of section 169.441
when a violation of subdivision 1, 1a, 2, or 5 was allegedly committed, if the applicable school
bus bears a current inspection certificate issued under section 169.451.
    Subd. 8. Scheduling cases. When necessary or desirable to ensure that a school bus driver
who witnessed or otherwise can provide relevant information concerning a violation of this
section is available to be present at a court proceeding held to determine an alleged violation of
this section, the court administrator shall schedule the proceeding to be held between the hours of
10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
History: 1991 c 277 s 6; 1993 c 78 s 2; 1Sp1995 c 3 art 2 s 32; 1997 c 159 art 2 s 24-28