169.443 SAFETY OF SCHOOL CHILDREN; BUS DRIVER'S DUTIES.
Subdivision 1. Using bus signals.
A driver of a school bus shall activate the prewarning
flashing amber signals of the bus before stopping to load or unload school children. The driver
shall activate and continuously operate the amber signals for a distance of at least 100 feet before
stopping in a speed zone of 35 miles per hour or less and at least 300 feet before stopping in a
speed zone of more than 35 miles per hour. On stopping for this purpose, the driver shall extend
the stop-signal arm system and activate the flashing red signals. The driver shall not retract
the stop-signal arm system nor extinguish the flashing red signals until loading or unloading is
completed, students are seated, and children who must cross the roadway are safely across.
Subd. 2. Use of stop-signal arm.
(a) The stop-signal arm system of a school bus must be
used in conjunction with the flashing red signals only when the school bus is stopped on a street
or highway to load or unload school children.
(b) A local authority, including the governing body of an Indian tribe, may by ordinance
require that a school bus activate the stop-signal arm system and flashing red signals while stopped
to unload school children at a location other than a location on a street or highway. The ordinance
must designate each location where the requirement is imposed. The requirement is effective only
if the local authority has erected signs at or near the location to provide adequate notice that other
vehicles are required to obey section
169.444, subdivision 1
, when those signals are activated.
Subd. 3. When signals not used.
School bus drivers shall not activate the prewarning
flashing amber signals or flashing red signals and shall not use the stop arm signal:
(1) in special school bus loading areas where the bus is entirely off the traveled portion
of the roadway and where no other motor vehicle traffic is moving or is likely to be moving
within 20 feet of the bus;
(2) when directed not to do so, in writing, by the local school board;
(3) when a school bus is being used on a street or highway for purposes other than the
actual transportation of school children to or from school or a school-approved activity, except as
provided in subdivision 8;
(4) at railroad grade crossings; and
(5) when loading and unloading people at designated school bus stops where people are not
required to cross the street or highway, while the bus is completely off the traveled portion of a
roadway that has adequate shoulders. The driver shall drive the bus completely off the traveled
portion of this roadway before loading or unloading people. A school bus stop is designated under
this clause if the transportation director of the school district in which the bus stop is located, in
consultation with the road authority, certifies the integrity of the shoulder and the safety of the
location for loading and unloading people. Each designated school bus stop must be documented
and approved by the school board.
Subd. 4. Street crossings.
Where school children must cross a roadway before getting
on or after getting off the school bus, the driver of the school bus or a school bus patrol may
supervise the crossing, using the standard school patrol flag or signal as approved and prescribed
by the commissioner of public safety. Before moving the school bus, the driver of the bus shall
visually determine that all children have crossed the roadway and that those who are to do so
have boarded the school bus.
Subd. 5. Moving bus after children unloaded.
When children are getting off a school
bus or Head Start bus, the driver shall visually determine that they are a safe distance from the
bus before moving the bus.
Subd. 6. Type III buses.
The driver of a type III school bus or type III Head Start bus
shall load or unload school children or Head Start passengers only from the right-hand side of
the vehicle, provided that on a one-way street the driver shall load or unload school children or
Head Start passengers only from the curb side of the vehicle. When loading or unloading school
children or Head Start passengers, the driver shall activate the vehicle's four-way hazard lights
described in section
169.59, subdivision 4
Subd. 7. Misdemeanor.
A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Subd. 8. Use for recreational or educational activity.
A school bus that transports over
regular routes and on regular schedules persons age 18 or under to and from a regularly scheduled
recreational or educational activity must comply with subdivisions 1 and 7. Notwithstanding
169.441, subdivision 3
, a school bus may provide such transportation only if (1) the
"school bus" sign is plainly visible; (2) the school bus has a valid certificate of inspection under
; (3) the driver of the school bus possesses a driver's license with a valid school
bus endorsement under section
; and (4) the entity that organizes the recreational or
educational activity, or the contractor who provides the school buses to the entity, consults with
the superintendent of the school district in which the activity is located or the superintendent's
designee on the safety of the regular routes used.
Subd. 9. Personal cellular phone call prohibition.
A school bus driver may not operate
a school bus while communicating over, or otherwise operating, a cellular phone for personal
reasons, whether hand-held or hands free, when the vehicle is in motion.
History: 1991 c 277 s 5; 1992 c 516 s 2,3; 1993 c 78 s 1; 1994 c 465 art 1 s 25; 1994 c
603 s 7,8; 1994 c 647 art 12 s 17; 1Sp1997 c 4 art 12 s 7; 2000 c 426 s 25; 2004 c 294 art 2 s
21,22; 2007 c 146 art 8 s 4