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Sgt. Curt S. Mowers: The deal with school bus strobe lamps

Question: I have a question about school buses and the flashing white light on the rooftop. I had always heard that the light on the rooftop was only to be used during bad weather such as fog, snow or rain, which I can understand.

But in my area of the state I see these lights in operation even on clear sunny days. Is this right or wrong and what does the law say about this? Answer: Referring to M.S.S. 169.442, Subdivision 5, it talks about white strobe lamps on certain buses transporting children. It basically says that school buses may be equipped with a flashing strobe lamp. Like you thought, there are some restrictions. One is that the lamp must be permanently mounted on the longitudinal centerline of the bus roof not less than two feet forward of the rear roof edge. The law also states that, “The strobe lamp may be lighted only when atmospheric conditions or terrain restrict the visibility of school bus lamps and signals or Head Start bus lamps and signals so as to require use of the bright strobe lamp to alert motorists to the presence of the school bus or Head Start bus. A strobe lamp may not be lighted unless the school bus or Head Start bus is actually being used as a school bus or Head Start bus.” I hope that clears it up for you. As a reminder for everyone concerning school bus safety in general: E Drivers must stop for buses when red lights flashing – and stay back. E Remember, children are exiting or entering the bus when the stop arm is extended and red lights are flashing. E Teach and demonstrate safe crossing for your children – especially when exiting a bus, which is the most dangerous of circumstances. Sgt. Curt S. Mowers works for the Minnesota State Patrol.