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Stop arm violations see huge increase

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CLOQUET, MN. -- Ignoring lowered school bus stop arms, can mean life or death for students heading to and from school. But the Cloquet Police Department says, that's exactly what more and more drivers are doing.

"It makes me feel like, you were taught this as part of training to be a driver yourself. Be aware of the rules of the road," said Pat Burn, Transportation Coordinator for Cloquet Transit.

That's the message the Cloquet Transit Company is sending.. hoping to ensure children's safety getting on and off school buses.

For the past several years, the Transit Company says they've seen five to ten violations in the Cloquet Area School District annually. But so far this year, it's happened at least 27 times. It's now community effort to stop it from happening.

"Not only law enforcement, but a lot of different public safety groups along with the bus company have sent out information trying to educate the motoring public", said Derek Randall, Cloquet Interim Police Chief.

The Cloquet Police Department is implementing special enforcement to the Washington Avenue Area, with an eye out for drivers blowing past stop arms.

"We already have officers at the Cloquet High School and Middle School but we will have those officers also keep an eye on and patrol down Washington Avenue to make sure that we aren't seeing the same things that the bus company is reporting continue.", said Randall.

Transit drivers say the amount of snow we receive makes this problem, even more dangerous.

"With the snowfall, the snow banks and everything, it's harder to see these kids waiting by the sides of roads, on the corners and it makes the roadway slicker, the buses have to stop, that all has to be taken into consideration when we are transporting kids", said Burn.

The bus drivers also have a role to play in keeping kids safe.

"They have to be taught just like a driver they have to be taught how to act in traffic and that's something we teach our drivers with the aid of the state patrol", said Burn.

Ryan Compeau

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