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Milwaukee school bus driver warns too many people are driving dangerously around buses

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Posted at 4:59 PM, Mar 01, 2023

SOUTH MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Bus drivers say too many people are driving dangerously around school buses and something needs to change. Amy Wilson, who works for Lamers Bus Lines, has been a school bus driver in Milwaukee County for nearly a decade.

“I see speeding around buses, not giving them enough space between the vehicles. They don't give us enough stopping time. Nobody wants to be behind a bus,” said Wilson.

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Amy Wilson sits in her bus at Lamars Bus Lines in Milwaukee.

We followed along with Wilson on her afternoon route. Wisconsin law states that school bus drivers who drop off in a school bus loading area or where there's a sidewalk or curb on both sides of the road should not use flashing red or amber warning lights unless your city requires it. That's why when Wilson drives her route in Milwaukee and South Milwaukee, she only uses the hazard lights or flashers.

"When we have kids on the bus and we come up to their stop. We put on our flashers so many feet before their stop, pull over. Come to a stop, put it in park. Check for traffic and let the kids out. But they are not allowed to cross in front of the bus until we leave,” said Wilson.

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Amy Wilson has the school bus flashers on in South Milwaukee to pick up a student for kindergarten.

She says that makes it even more important for drivers to slow down and use caution around buses. She has witnessed a child get hit by a car.

“The driver was speeding, not using caution,” said Wilson. "They ran out in front of the bus and the car didn't see them and they hit them. The kid was spun around and they were fine."

Milwaukee Police tell me when it comes to citations, it falls under “overtaking certain vehicles". Last year, police wrote eight of those citations. That law states drivers must pass at a safe distance to the left of the motor bus and shall not turn right in front of a bus at an intersection. The penalty for that is between $25 and $200 for a first offense.

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Amy Wilson drives her school bus in South Milwaukee picking up children for kindergarten.

Wilson says she sees people drive recklessly around school buses but doesn’t always get the information needed to report it.

"A majority of the time everything happens so fast they don't have time to catch the plate number or the make of the vehicle,” said Wilson. "Our focus is on making sure the kids get home safely."

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In 2015, the City of Milwaukee considered passing an ordinance that would require school buses to delay stop arms and use flashing red lights. But it never moved forward. The city says that ordinance is still in committee to this day.

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