ST. CLOUD -- With the school year fast approaching, the Minnesota State Patrol is reminding drivers to stay alert and watch out for school buses.

Area school buses drive more than 10,000 students to and from school each day.

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Lieutenant Brian Reu is with the Minnesota State Patrol. He says it's important to remember to slow down and put distractions away.

We just plea with drivers to put their phones down, pay attention what you're doing behind the wheel so everyone can get to school, work or home safe.

Reu says even if you are in a hurry, when the lights are flashing and the stop arm is out, keep your distance as it's illegal to pass a school bus at that time

The minimum fine for your basic stop arm violation is $500. If a student outside of the bus, or you pass alone the right side of the bus, that's a gross misdemeanor and can come with a higher fine as well.

Reu says they've had several close calls but thankfully no deaths when it comes to stop arm violators.

He says to remember bus drivers are still learning their routes, so be patient with them the first few weeks of the school year.


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