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Eagan police follow school buses to catch drivers breaking stop arm law

Squads followed buses to and from school Tuesday, watching to make sure when the bus stopped, drivers did, too.

EAGAN, Minn. — Eagan police had an assignment on this first day of school: Catch drivers who didn't stop for school bus stop arms.

"We really want to send a message to let people know that they need to stop for buses," said Officer Aaron Machtemes.

Squads followed buses to and from school Tuesday, watching to make sure when the bus stopped, drivers did, too. 

Credit: Eagan Police Department
Eagan Police squad car video shows a school bus Tuesday morning preparing to pick up students.

So far, Eagan police say they haven't spotted anyone breaking the stop arm law Tuesday, but that's not always the case. 

"The school districts in Eagan say that they see about 10 to 12 violations a day," said Machtemes.

If you need a refresher, the law says when a school bus stop arm is out, you must stop at least 20 feet away. If you don't, you could face a $500 fine. 

RELATED: #Brake4Buses: KARE special to focus on driver behavior, student safety

The State Patrol says 6,500 tickets have been handed out for stop arm violations statewide over the past five years. 

Near Zumbrota in January, a chilling video captured a vehicle narrowly missing a fourth grader as she walked to her bus.

RELATED: MN 4th grader nearly hit by driver who didn't stop for school bus

"There's a lot of close call videos out there," Machtemes said. "Actually, this bus here, I was talking with the bus driver, and he was saying a girl had a Prius go right past her and just said, 'I felt the breeze on my legs.'"

Other metro departments are monitoring, too. Edina police say they've caught four violations since school started last week. Farmington police say they'll have 'targeted enforcement' all this week, and so far, haven't spotted anyone breaking the stop arm law. 

You can watch KARE 11's #Brake4Buses special here.