MAPS Receives Bus Safety Grant

Moorhead Area Public Schools (MAPS) is one of twenty-seven schools and transportation companies awarded grants from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), to install bus stop arm cameras to help keep students safe as they go to and from school. MAPS will use the $116,903.12 to add cameras and upgrade existing digital video recorders (DVR). 

The grant project combines enforcement, education and awareness efforts so drivers obey the law and stop for buses with flashing lights and stop arms extended. The cameras are helping schools and law enforcement find the violators and hold them accountable.

MAPS will purchase and install sixty-seven front-facing School Bus Stop-Signal Arm Cameras, ensuring every bus in use has a front facing stop arm camera. Outdated cameras in forty-nine buses will also be upgraded to new DH6 DVRs 6 channel systems. This DVR upgrade will bring all buses up to the latest DVR software required to operate the front facing stop arm cameras. 

Across the state, the grant project will equip around 7,000 school buses with stop arm cameras, representing about 59 percent of all school buses in Minnesota. In Moorhead, once the project is completed, 100% of the MAPS bus fleet including district owned and contractor owned buses will have front- and rear-facing stop arm cameras and upgraded recording equipment.

Keeping Children Safe

State law requires all vehicles to stop for school buses when the bus driver activates the flashing lights and has the stop arm fully extended. Drivers who violate the law face a $500 fine. Drivers can face criminal charges for passing a school bus on the right, passing when a child is outside the bus, or injuring or killing a child.

"No driver wants to kill or seriously injure a child because of a stop arm violation,” said OTS Director Mike Hanson. “It’s frightening to see the number of violations captured by the cameras. This project will help motorists understand the dangers, learn the law and keep kids safe."

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety designs, implements and coordinates federally funded traffic safety enforcement and education programs to improve driver behaviors and reduce the deaths and serious injuries that occur on Minnesota roads. These efforts form a strong foundation for the statewide Toward Zero Deaths traffic safety program. OTS also administers state funds for the motorcycle safety program, child seats for needy families program and school bus stop arm camera project.