BISMARCK, N.D. — The North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) is partnering with school officials in the state to enhance traffic safety on local bus routes.
The program involves a NDHP trooper riding along on a school bus to observe motorists' activities. If a stop-arm violation occurs, the trooper will radio the information to another trooper in a nearby squad car. A traffic stop will be initiated and enforcement action will be taken.
Officials said the effort will enhance the enforcement of related traffic laws and increase public awareness regarding the dangers created by motorists who fail to stop for school buses when children are loading and unloading.
The first "Trooper on a Bus" event will take place near Alexander on Wednesday.
North Dakota law requires that if a stopped school bus is displaying alternating flashing red lights or a stop sign control arm, a driver of a vehicle meeting or overtaking the stopped bus from either direction (front or back) must stop before reaching the school bus. Motorists may not proceed until the red lights are deactivated, the bus driver signals them to proceed or the bus resumes motion.
"This law protects the children as they are loading or exiting the bus," said Lieutenant Jody Skogen, NDHP safety and education officer. "Children are placed in danger when motorists fail to stop as directed by the bus driver."
The enforcement consequence for failing to stop as required for a school bus is a $50 fine and six points being assessed to the violator's driving record.
Bus drivers have the authority to document information about violations in which motorists overtake or pass their buses while the overhead red stop lights are activated. These reports are given to local law enforcement, who then follow up and take enforcement action based upon the complaint.