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Milwaukee to look at requiring School Buses to deploy Stop Arms

UPDATE: 10/01/15 - The proposal was discussed at Thursday's meeting.  The committee decided to hold the vote to a later date.  There was testimony from the Milwaukee Public School district, the Milwaukee Police Department, bus companies, and the public.  

MPS, MPD, and the bus companies were against the proposal.  Common Ground - a coalition of people representing various causes and interests - supports the move.  

The committee wants more information from all parties involved before making any decisions.  

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Proposed legislation would require school buses in Milwaukee to deploy stop arms and flashing red lights when children are boarding or exiting.

The proposed change is scheduled to come up before the Public Safety Committee at its regular meeting on Thursday but Alderman Terry Witkowski said it should be postponed.

He believes more research needs to be done before changing legislation.

"What if we do change this as of tomorrow? The law could be changed and in effect in 2 weeks.That would cause drivers to use stop arm and suddenly everyone in Milwaukee having to stop. I don't know if there's any plan for education that comes along a that alerts drivers or those 56,000 children," said Ald. Witkowski.

Right now, State law allows individual municipalities to determine whether bus drivers are required to do so. And Milwaukee doesn't require it.

Alderman Witkowski said research he's looked at so far shows that drivers are not following school bus stop laws nationwide. He doesn't think changing the current laws will help with children's safety.

The groups Common Ground and AAA are supporting the proposed change.

“Most people are shocked when they learn buses don't put up their lights and stop arms because they are taught that when they go for drivers exams so many driving are confused. The inconsistency presents danger for children's safety,” said Kevan Penvose, from Common Ground.

             
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