Focus 2025: Bus Drivers: Keeping Our Students Safe and Supported

Transporting students to and from school by those big yellow busses seem to be a routine that we see playing out each and every day during the school year. We forget that behind that wheel of a 72-passenger bus are compassionate and dedicated bus drivers who have an incredible responsibility of keeping our children safe.

Bus drivers are some of the most highly tested and scrutinized drivers on the road and understandably so. In addition to acquiring a CDL, bus drivers are required to complete a physical annually or biannually depending on their age. To acquire a bus driver’s license, applicants must also be able to complete a series of driving tests completed by a third-party tester to ensure they are capable of operating a bus safely and according to regulations.

While school busses remain incredibly safe, students who ride busses are most vulnerable when they are outside of the bus in what is called the “danger zone.” When students are entering or exiting the school bus, drivers are keeping their eyes open for distracted drivers to ensure their students are getting on and off safely.

Just how often do we see drivers not stopping for a school bus? On May 3, Wautoma School District along with 3,100 other bus drivers from Wisconsin and 104,468 drivers from 29 states participated in a one day survey to record the number of illegal passing of bus incidents. In this one day snapshot, Wautoma had four violations, Wisconsin recorded 828 violations, and the 29 states in total recorded 78,239 violations.

Wisconsin state law requires drivers to stop a minimum of 20 feet from a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing. You must stop whether the school bus is on your side of the road, the opposite side of the road, or at an intersection that you are approaching.

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