MADISON (WKOW) -- From Wisconsin State Patrol:
School buses are some of the safest vehicles on the road today. To ensure their
continued safe operation, each school bus in Wisconsin is inspected every year by the
Wisconsin State Patrol.
Although school buses have a commendable safety record for transporting passengers,
tragedy can strike when students rush to get on or off their bus and unexpectedly dart into
traffic. Because young children may be hard to see until its too late, motorists must be
extremely cautious when driving near school buses and obey laws designed to protect bus
According to Wisconsin law, when approaching a school bus from the front or rear,
drivers must stop at least 20 feet from the bus when it is stopped and displaying flashing red
lights. Drivers may not proceed until after the bus resumes its route or turns off the flashing red
warning lights. Drivers also may not pass a stopped school bus in order to make a right turn.
Drivers on the other side of a divided highway from a bus with flashing red lights are not
required to stop.
"Officers from the State Patrol and other agencies stringently enforce laws requiring
motorists to stop for school buses with flashing red lights," says Captain Charles Teasdale of
the State Patrol Southwest Region. "Besides law enforcement officers, school bus drivers
legally may report any violations involving passing or turning in front of their buses. The owner
of the vehicle, who might not be the offending driver, will then be responsible for paying the
A citation for failure of a vehicle to stop for a school bus costs $312 and four demerit
points. A citation for an illegal right turn in front of a stopped school bus costs $312 and three
demerit points. If reported by a school bus driver, the vehicle owner's liability for the illegal
passing of a bus will cost $312 with no demerit points.
"Violations of school bus safety laws are serious and expensive for a very good reason.
Drivers must always be aware that children might not be paying attention and don't see
oncoming vehicles when they get on or off a bus." says Captain Teasdale. "As we start another
school year, drivers need to remember to stop when they approach a bus with flashing red