The Owatonna Police Department is asking drivers to stay alert, slow down and help keep our children safe as the new school year begins. The OPD will have extra police patrols around schools and is urging drivers to slow down, pay attention and allow more time to travel through school zones.

To help protect children as they return to school this fall, please take note of the following reminders.

  • Slow down and reduce your speed in school zones.
  • When posted and when children are present, the speed limit is 20 miles per hour.
  • Do not stop or obstruct the lane of traffic to drop off or pick up students or passengers.
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  • Use established student drop-off zones.
  • Yield to pedestrians and crossing guards in crosswalks.
  • When school buses flash amber lights, they are preparing to stop. All drivers must stop at least 20 feet back and in all directions for a school bus flashing red lights and have the school bus stop arm extended.
  • It is illegal to pass a school bus with red flashing red lights; and penalties are enhanced if children are present.

Owatonna Police Chief Jeff Mundale says,

The Owatonna Police Department will be actively looking for drivers who disregard these rules. We can all do our part to get students to school and home safely by staying alert and obeying speed limits.

Reducing driving speeds provides the few extra seconds that could prevent a tragic accident.

State law requires all vehicles to stop for school buses when the bus driver activates the flashing lights and has the crossing 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.

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