BELOIT, Wis. - Police in Rock County urged drivers to be cautious around school buses as the new school year is about to kick off this week.
Officials with the City of Beloit Police Department on Monday reminded drivers in a Facebook post that it wanted to remind drivers when they should stop for a bus. Police also shared an illustration indicating what drivers should do when they see a stopped bus on a two-lane road, multi-lane road or a divided highway.
"It is super dangerous to pass a bus when the arm is out, which is why the citation is also pretty hefty," Beloit police officals said. "Once again, we aren't in it for the money, we are in it for the safety."
On a two-lane road, drivers headed in both directions must stop, police said. On a multi-lane paved road, vehicles traveling in both directions also must stop. On a divided highway, vehicles behind the bus must stop, but vehicles headed in the opposite direction can proceed with caution.
Police also warned drivers to obey the law, even if police aren't present.
"Bus drivers can, and do, file reports to us on violations of their stop arm so the ol' 'no cop no stop,' thing isn't going to work for the bus for sure," the police department wrote. "If this post, or the threat of a big ticket prevent you from endangering some little ones, then mission accomplished."
Police said drivers obeying road rules related to school buses "seems to have been a bigger problem last school year for some reason, and we want to prevent issues this year."
In March, the Town of Beloit police issued seven citations during an operation in which an officer rode along on a bus for seven days on problematic bus routes, and another officer off the bus conducted traffic stops. At the time, officials with the Beloit Turner School District said they had compiled 90 instances of drivers illegally passing a school bus following a hit-and-run crash involving a school bus.
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