A new law involving school busses and student safety went into effect Tuesday, and drivers who get caught disobeying the law not only risk the lives of schoolchildren, they also face a fine and points.
School busses are now equipped with an eight-light warning system; two amber lights and two red lights at the top of the front and back of the bus that alert drivers about impending stops, according to a video on the state Department of Transportation’s YouTube channel.
Bus drivers will activate the amber lights to warn drivers they are approaching a bus stop. While the amber lights are flashing, drivers can continue traveling and should use caution in the immediate area.
When the bus is almost stopped, and while children are boarding or disembarking, the bus driver will activate the red flashing lights. The stop sign with red lights that swings out from the side of the bus remains a standard piece of equipment for school busses.
All drivers are required to stay 20 feet away from a school bus with flashing red lights. The penalty for not obeying the law is a $326 ticket and four points.
“The penalty is small compared to a child getting injured or killed due to someone not adhering to the red warning lights,” Wisconsin State Patrol Lt. Karl Mittel states in the DOT video.
Drivers who think they can get away with skirting the law because law enforcement isn’t nearby should think again; bus drivers can report the license plate numbers of offending vehicles so police can still issue the ticket.