School zone and bus safety reminders to keep children safe

The speed limit in a school zone is 15 miles per hour when children are present
Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 7:59 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The start of a new school year can be exciting, but getting back into the morning routine can be hectic. It’s important to remember in the rush of getting to school or work, to slow down when driving through a school zone and to stop when a school bus has it’s red flashing lights on.

The Wausau Police Department monitors school zones around the city and communicates with crossing guards to keep children and drivers safe. The speed limit in a school zone is 15 miles per hour when children are present. Lieutenant Luis Lopes-Serrao says the biggest mistake he has seen is when drivers get into their daily routine and become distracted, which sometimes includes speeding through a school zone.

“The biggest solution is just making sure that we put our phones away, so we can focus on driving, so as long as we’re focused on our driving, we can be focused on the signs to remind us about the areas that we’re entering, so that we can make sure to be safe,” said Lieutenant Luis Lopes-Serrao, Wausau Police Department.

The police department says speed fines are already hefty, and they double in a school zone. The police department wants to remind you that when you see a crossing guard or school zone sign to pay attention and slow down. We want everyone to be safe.

It may seem like an inconvenience to get stuck behind that yellow school bus in the morning, but following the rules of the road is important to keep our students safe.

The Wausau Police Department works with bus drivers to enforce the rules and keep your kids safe. In Wisconsin, if a school bus is stopped with its red warning lights flashing, drivers must stop at least 20 feet or more from that bus. This applies when you’re coming up behind a school bus and when you’re approaching from the opposite direction. According to the Wisconsin DOT, that red stop sign on the bus provides an added warning to drivers, but the lack of an extended stop arm is no reason to pass a bus when those red lights are flashing.

“We definitely see it through the school year, that, you know, quite frequently, the bus companies will report it to us, and we’ll address it. And we try to keep our eyes open for it as well when we’re out there,” said Lopes-Serrao.

The police department wants to remind drivers to be cautious around school buses and in school zones. Fines for passing a school bus illegally can range from $30 to $300.