LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – This week is National School Bus Safety Week, with the goal of reminding drivers to be safe around school buses. La Crosse PD School Resource Officer Andrew Jarrett says, “With school back in session, we have those school busses making those routine stops, picking up and dropping off children. And when they make those stops, they’re required oftentimes to stop in inconvenient locations for traffic. And so they have stop arms and stop signs that will deploy if there are children exiting or getting onto the bus.”
Jarrett says buses have ways to track down drivers who fail to follow the rules around school buses, “Many of them in the area are equipped with cameras and a lot of the reports we get are after the fact with a license plate, a date and time in which the incident occurred and kind of a summary usually being this vehicle was going at a high rate of speed near a bus or did not make a complete stop while that stop sign was engaged.”
Jarrett adds drivers must be aware that they have to stop anywhere on the road once they see a school bus stop, “Regardless, if you are coming from behind the school bus or if you are approaching the school bus from the opposite lane of traffic, it’s still important to yield to that stop sign because children are going to be crossing the street. And some of those children are elementary school aged and we’re still educating them on roadside safety, looking both ways. It’s important for us as adults, as drivers, to be vigilant and slow down and stop in our school busses.”
Officer Jarrett says the police department has received several reports of unsafe driving around school buses so far in the school year, but no injuries have been reported.
According to the Wisconsin DOT, bus drivers in Wisconsin reported 256 incidents of other vehicles illegally passing their school buses on one school day this year. A citation for failure to stop for a school bus costs $326 and $4 demerit points.