School Bus Safety Reminder
With the start of the school year just around the corner, now is a good time to remind everyone about the traffic laws and safety concerns surrounding school buses.
The safety of our students is the number one priority.
- Make sure children get to the designated bus stop on time and they stay out of the road while they wait.
- Practice normal street safety (looking both ways before crossing).
- Teach riders to wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the red lights are flashing before stepping out to board the bus. Students may even wait for a signal from the bus driver that it is okay to board.
- Allow extra time to get to where you are going on school days.
- Yellow flashing lights on a bus indicate the bus is about to stop. While drivers can legally pass a bus with yellow flashing lights, drivers should treat it like a yellow light at a traffic stop, slowing down, and approaching with caution.
- When a bus is using red flashing lights, all vehicles in both directions* must stop at least 20 feet or more from the bus.
From the Wisconsin DOT website:
Drivers must stop on the street or highway 20 feet or more from any school bus that has stopped and is flashing red warning lights.
- This applies both to vehicles approaching from the rear and from the opposing lanes.
- All lanes of traffic must stop for the school bus, except in opposing lanes if the highway is divided with a center median*.
- No vehicle may proceed until the bus resumes motion and has turned off the red warning lights.
- The stop arm on the bus is an added communication to other drivers, but the lack of an extended stop arm is not reason to pass a bus whose red lights are flashing.
In some urban areas buses will signal with yellow lights, or use red lights only in some parts of town. Motorists should observe school buses carefully for either the “pass cautiously” yellow light signal or the required full stop when a bus is flashing red lights
A vehicle owner can be cited when the driver of a car passes a school bus illegally. A law enforcement officer need not witness this violation if the school bus driver reports it to the law enforcement agency within 24 hours. Fines can be quite high for illegally passing a school bus, but the risk of hitting a child is even higher.
With a little practice and a little patience, we can make sure our little ones get on and off the bus safely.
Don’t pass a stopped school bus, State of Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/safety/equipment/sch-bus/dont-pass.aspx