OnFocus – With the start of another school, local public safety officials are reminding motorists to exercise vigilance and caution around school buses.
The law throughout Wisconsin states that vehicles approaching a school bus that is displaying flashing red warning lights from the rear, or opposing lanes, must stop no closer than 20 feet from a stopped bus. (The exception is Milwaukee, where alderman chose to wait for further study on a stoppage law when school buses are loading and unloading students.)
In past years, Marshfield has witnessed an increase in school bus passings.
The DOT reminds that 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.
Find the full State Statute here.
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