New School Bus Laws Take Effect in Wisconsin

school bus 1A new law is in effect in the State of Wisconsin. The law requires every school bus built after 2005 to display flashing amber lights before stopping.

The bus drivers will be turning on their amber lights if they’re going under 45 miles per hour and they’ll be turning on the amber lights within 100 feet of their intended stop. If they’re going over 45 miles per hour that will be within 300 feet of their intended stop.With the new law, drivers who don’t stop at least 20 feet away from the back of the bus when the lights are red face at least a $326.50 fine.

Drivers must stop on the street or highway 20 feet or more from any school bus that has stopped and is flashing red warning lights.

  • This applies both to vehicles approaching from the rear and from the opposing lanes.
  • All lanes of traffic must stop for the school bus, except in opposing lanes if the highway is divided with a center median.
  • No vehicle may proceed until the bus resumes motion and has turned off the red warning lights.
  • The stop arm on the bus is an added communication to other drivers, but the lack of an extended stop arm is not reason to pass a bus whose red lights are flashing.

For more information please visit and  view the WisDOT video.

Here is more information

A vehicle approaching a school bus with an 8-light warning system must do the following:
AMBER WARNING LIGHTS  This is a cautionary message that the bus is coming to a stop and will soon be activating its RED warning lights. Traffic is allowed to bypass the school bus with care.

RED WARNING LIGHTS  Stop at least 20 feet from the bus and remain stopped until the bus resumes motion or the driver extinguishes the flashing red warning lights. Failure to do so will result in a minimum fine of $326.50 and four points. This law does not apply to vehicles driving in the opposite direction on a divided highway but does apply if no barrier is present on multi-lane street or highway.

 The operator shall actuate the flashing amber warning lights at least 300 feet before stopping in a 45 mile per hour or greater speed zone or at least 100 feet before stopping in a less than 45 mile per hour speed zone School bus operators USE of flashing WARNING lights:

a. At the point of loading or unloading, the operator , while bringing the bus to a stop, extinguish the flashing amber warning lights (not applicable to red light equipped bus only), and actuate the flashing red warning lights.

b. After loading or unloading is completed and persons who must cross the highway are safely across, extinguish the flashing red warning lights

c. Where the curb and sidewalk are laid on one side of the road only, the operator shall use the flashing red or flashing red and amber warning lights when loading or unloading passengers from either side School bus operators SHALL NOT USE the flashing RED or AMBER WARNING lights in:  Special school bus loading areas where the bus is entirely off the traveled portion of the highway  Residence or business districts when pupils or other authorized passengers are to be loaded or unloaded where a sidewalk and curb are laid on both sides of the road, UNLESS required