ST. CLOUD -- Safely getting your kids to and from school every day is the job of our area school bus drivers. A wide range of issues on that topic will be covered this week during an expo here in town.

Shelly Jonas is the Executive Director of the Minnesota School Bus Drivers Association. She says one issue is the growing problem of stop-arm violations.

Its always been a concern, but I think as people have added a lot of electronics to their vehicle whether it's GPS or having phones in the vehicle it's been a greater concern and it's something that we've been working on in the last few years, as well as nationwide organizations have been really looking at it and how we can combat that issue.

Jonas says they are hoping to have a hearing during this state legislative session on the issue. In 2018 lawmakers raised the fine for a stop arm violation from $300 to $500.

She says another issue in the industry is the continued shortage of drivers.

It's not just statewide it is nationwide.  There's a driver shortage and combating that, how do you get people in the door, how do you get them trained and licensed, and keep them is a huge issue for us.  We're probably on our third or fourth year of a 10 to 15 percent driver shortage.

Other topics that will be discussed at the expo this week include the TSA talking about security on the buses, the State Patrol talking about inspections, and the problem of students vaping on buses.

The Minnesota School Bus Safety Expo is Friday and Saturday at the River's Edge Convention Center.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app