Flashing amber lights mean bus is about to stop

Under a new state regulation, school buses in Wisconsin built after January 1, 2005 must have amber lights to alert drivers that the bus is about to activate its flashing red warning lights while coming to a stop.

The new regulation went into effect on August 16, 2016.

“Flashing amber lights are a signal that the school bus is preparing to stop, so drivers need to slow down, pay attention and proceed carefully.

“Drivers are allowed to pass a moving bus with flashing amber lights, but they should do so cautiously,” says State Patrol Lieutenant Karl Mittelstadt.

“However, once the bus displays flashing red warning lights, drivers both in front of and behind the bus must stop at least 20 feet from the bus and remain stopped until the red lights are turned off or the bus resumes travel.

“Drivers must stop even if the red stop-sign arm on the side of the bus is not extended.”

Stopping for red flashing lights on buses has been a state law for decades.

Violating the law results in a minimum fine of $326.50 and four demerit points.

The law does not apply to vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus on a divided highway separated by a median or other physical barrier.

However, the law does apply if there is no median or barrier on a multiple-lane road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, school buses are the safest form of transportation for students going to and from school and extra-curricular activities.

“With amber lights as a cautionary signal, school buses will be even safer for transporting children,” Mittelstadt said.

To help maintain this commendable safety record, the State Patrol inspects every school bus in Wisconsin every year for a total of about 11,000 inspections annually.

A WisDOT You Tube video explains the new amber light regulation and what drivers should do when approaching school buses.

WisDOT also offers an online brochure explaining the new requirement.


Most recent cover pages:














Copyright 2009-2018 The Plymouth Review, All Rights Reserved

Contact Information

113 E. Mill St., Plymouth WI 53073
Local: 920-893-6411 Toll Free: 1-877-467-6591
Fax: 920-893-5505








Wilderness Journal