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What Is The Law When School Bus Lights Are Flashing?

By Keith Stachowiak on May 15, 2015 // Leave a Comment

School-BusAs the weather gets warmer and the school year winds down, children are even more excited to get home from school and play outside with their friends. What does this mean for drivers and preventing auto accidents? It means that drivers have to be even more careful to look out for children crossing the street and for school buses.

School buses not only alert drivers to the presence of children, but the rules of the road require drivers to act in a certain way around buses to enhance the safety of the children getting off the bus.

At Murphy & Prachthauser, we understand that laws and statutes can sometimes be difficult to understand. As such, we wanted to help you understand the Wisconsin statutes pertaining to school buses and explain how the laws may affect you.

What Do I Need To Know About School Bus Flashing Lights?

Wisconsin Statute section 346.48 tells operators of vehicles what to do when approaching a school bus when the bus is displaying flashing red lights. The statute requires:

  1.       Stopping your vehicle at least 20ft from the bus.
  2.       Remaining stopped until the bus starts moving or turns off the flashing red lights.

Following these two rules will allow for safer drivers, safer children and safer neighborhoods.

What Is The Difference Between Red Lights and Yellow Lights On School Buses?

If you have ever been stuck behind a school bus, you might have noticed that some buses are equipped with both yellow and red flashing lights. Bus drivers are required to turn on the flashing red lights at any time the students are getting onto or off of the bus. The red lights should be a sign that children are in the area and vehicles should be stopped.

If the bus is also equipped with amber or yellow lights, these lights are used to signal that the bus will be slowing down. Watching for these yellow lights is especially helpful in areas with higher speed limits because it allows drivers to slow their speeds in time to stop for the bus when the lights turn red.

Why School Bus Rules Of The Road Matter To You

The Wisconsin Rules of the Road are designed to protect drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. Stopping closer than 20ft away from a school bus constitutes a violation of Wisconsin law and could result in a citation or worse, if someone gets hurt.

If you keep these laws in mind as you operate your vehicle or bicycle, you keep others safe and promote a culture of safety. Keep these rules on school buses in mind as the school year comes to an end and look out for the safety of the children in your neighborhood.

Will you be more careful now that you know the 20ft rule? How do you promote a culture of safety in your home or place of work?

At Murphy & Prachthauser we practice personal injury law the way it should be practiced – motivated and equipped to do our best for you. We take pride in being good lawyers who help people.

If you have a case you would like to speak to a lawyer about, please contact us to schedule a free consultation and get an experienced team of lawyers working on your behalf.

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