As students head back to school, the state patrol reminds motorists to watch for students, school buses and crossing guards. The state patrol’s September Law of the Month details state laws designed to protect students as they travel to and from school activities.
Many Wisconsin school buses are now fitted with amber lights, which, when flashing, tell drivers to slow down because the red flashing lights will soon be activated and the bus is about to stop. Drivers may carefully pass a school bus with amber lights activated, but they should do so cautiously.
Wisconsin law requires drivers to stop at least 20 feet from a stopped school bus that has its red warning lights flashing when approaching from either direction. The only exception is if you are traveling on the other side of a divided roadway separated by a median or other physical barrier.
“Passing a stopped school bus that has its red lights flashing is illegal and very dangerous,” said the state patrol’s Captain Ryan Chaffee. “Children are easily distracted and don’t always think about their own safety, so drivers need to be extra alert.” State law also requires drivers to yield when directed to stop by a school crossing guard. Like bus drivers, crossing guards have the authority to report violations to law-enforcement officials.