Sheriff’s Department monitoring bus passing

Deputy Ray Rowe communicates with Deputy David Gomez as they try to catch motorists illegally passing school buses this morning in Bristol.

With school back in session, we’re all seeing school buses back on the road.

If you were around a school bus in Bristol today, it may have had a sheriff’s deputy (and a reporter/photographer too) aboard as well as the usual driver and students.

Deputy Ray Rowe, familiar to former and present Western Kenosha County fifth graders (and their parents) as their D.A.R.E. officer, rode a bus Friday morning in an effort to monitor illegal passes of school buses along Highway 50. Rowe said the Sheriff’s Department has received some complaints about illegal passes since the school started again.

Just for a refresher, here’s the law: The law says that when the red flashing lights of a bus are on, a car must stop at least 20 feet away from the bus, and stay stopped until the lights are turned off. The stop sign included on most buses doesn’t even need to be out. Just the red lights need to be on. On a divided highway, like Highway 50, all lanes of traffic on the same side as the bus must stop when the red lights come on. The cars on the opposite side of the median do not need to stop. On a four-lane road that is not divided by a median both directions of traffic in all lanes must stop.

So are people really illegal passing school buses? With just two stops on Highway 50 Friday morning, Rowe on the bus and Deputy David Gomez in a patrol car down  the road were able to catch and ticket one violator this morning.

Here’s the video of the violation in process (it starts after the bus’ red flashers have been activated):

Deputies of course are not always handy when a passing violation occurs. If good enough information is gathered by a bus driver, the owner of a car that illegally passes a school bus can receive a citation for illegally passing a school bus even if they were not the driver, Rowe said. I.D can be made from the license plate and a description of the vehicle.

Convictions carry a fine of over $300.

The monitoring effort will not end today. Rowe said he will be riding other buses for other districts in coming weeks, which he hopes will leave an impression on drivers.

“See that yellow school bus and you better start thinking about slowing down,” Rowe said.




  1. Pat Simmons says:

    School buses drive to fast on the roads in Salem.

  2. Matt says:

    I think the fine for passing a bus should be a lot more than $300. Thats like putting a $300 value on our children. Although you can’t put a value on our children, I think the fine should be more like $3000! You lose your license till it is paid in full. Caught without a license, jail time…30 days minimum for first offense. Lets make it so people really don’t want to do this. At least that will take the “lets hurry up and pass” out of people.

  • Follow us on

  • Archives