Motorists must stop for school buses, crossing guards
Officer Bret Rodenz, with the Waupaca Police Department, reminds area drivers to observe the rules of the road now that winter has set in.
Rodenz says motorists need to follow the directions of school crossing guards and obey regulations regarding school buses.
“It is especially important to know these rules of the road when road conditions become inclement and when children are present near roadways,” Rodenz said. “Our kids don’t know how long it takes to stop a car. It isn’t what they are thinking about. Instead, our kids are tuned into their smartphones or talking with friends, the last thing they are thinking about is the vehicle that is approaching,”
The city of Waupaca employs two school crossing guards at high-traffic locations.
“The crossing guard focuses on our children’s safety. Whether a child is crossing a road while walking to or from school or they are getting on or off a school bus, the crossing guard’s primary focus is their safety,” says Officer Rodenz.
A failure to obey a school crossing guard may result in a fine. Wisconsin state law requires drivers to follow the directions of school crossing guards.
“If directed by the school crossing guard to stop, the operator shall stop the vehicle not less than 10 feet nor more than 30 feet from the school crossing and shall remain stopped until the school crossing guard directs the operator to proceed,” the law states.
A violation of this law results in a $187.90 traffic citation for the first offense and a higher fine for subsequent offenses.
Rodenz said it is also important to understand the laws that pertain to stopping or passing school buses.
“If you can imagine a bus full of elementary to high school aged kids all conversing and just being kids, those bus drivers have a lot to focus on,” Rodenz said. “As motor vehicle drivers we need to understand the laws that are in place to protect our children while they are on their school buses or walking to and from school.”
Motorists are responsible for stopping for school buses that are displaying flashing lights, whether they are behind the school bus or traveling in the oncoming traffic towards the school bus.
There is only one exception to the mandatory stopping for a school bus. Drivers traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus on a divided highway with a median barrier are not required to stop.