ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) announced nearly $1.4 million in grants to help keep students safe as they get on and off school buses. Palmer Bus Service is one of nineteen Minnesota schools and transportation companies getting state grants to install stop arm cameras on school buses. Palmer Bus Service will receive $306,453.72 in grants. 

The program is a partnership with law enforcement agencies including the Minnesota State Patrol, police departments and sheriff’s offices statewide. Phase four grants, the latest iteration of the stop arm camera grant project, go to 19 schools and transportation companies. Grant applicants provided support letters from local law enforcement agencies, an outreach plan and demonstrated the need by sharing violation numbers from the last two years.    

Office of Traffic Safety Director Mike Hanson says the State Patrol coordinates an annual one-day survey asking every school bus driver how many vehicles went through their stop arm today. 

“And in 2022 that was more than one thousand violations that were reported by the drivers across the state. And when you think about that – if that’s happening on a daily basis, the risk being posed to our kids is significant.” Hanson said. 

In addition to enforcement, the project funds education and awareness efforts to encourage drivers to obey the law and stop for buses with flashing lights and stop arms extended. The cameras provided through the project will help schools and law enforcement find the violators and hold them accountable.