Know the laws when sharing roadway with school buses

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By Peyton Meisner

With the school year beginning, it is important to review the traffic laws regarding school buses. 

According to the Prairie du Chien Police Department, Section 346.48 of the Wisconsin State Legislature states: 

“The operator of a vehicle which approaches from the front or rear of any school bus that has stopped on a street or highway, when the bus is equipped and when it is displaying flashing red warning lights, shall stop the vehicle not less than 20 feet from the bus and shall remain stopped until the bus resumes motion or the operator extinguishes the flashing red warning lights. 

“The operator of any school bus which approaches from the front or rear of any school bus that has stopped and is displaying flashing red warning lights shall display its flashing red lights while stopped. 

“This subsection does not apply to operators of vehicles proceeding in the opposite direction on a divided highway.

“A divided highway means a highway with two or more roadways separated by spaces not intended for the use of vehicular traffic.”

Prairie du Chien Police Chief Kyle Teynor said the Highway 18 Bypass would fit this definition from Iowa Street to the base of the railroad overpass, or where there is a raised curb that a vehicle is not meant to drive on. 

Yet, the area of Highway 18/Highway 35, from Southwest Veterinary Service to Industrial Boulevard, does not meet the definition of a divided highway, since there are turning lanes between the lanes of travel. By statute, vehicles traveling in both directions should be stopping for buses loading and unloading in that area.

The police department has focused patrol in the above-mentioned location, and it encourages drivers to know the rules of the road when sharing the roadway with school buses.

“I want to stress that this isn’t about citations, this is about kids. We enforce laws, one of the tools for enforcement is citations. Our goal is no violations through voluntary compliance, no citations and safe kids,” Teynor said.

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