Loophole in the law? Delafield mom concerned over incident involving SUV, school bus

DELAFIELD -- A loophole in the law? A Delafield family's home security system captures a vehicle zipping around a school bus about to stop -- and comes within a few feet of hitting children. Police say it's a dangerous move, but perfectly legal.

The reason stems back to the color of the school bus' tail lights. While old buses have the standard red flashing lights, new buses have both red and amber lights -- and that is creating some confusion among drivers.

Lisa Harshbarger

Lisa Harshbarger

Last Friday morning, Lisa Harshbarger and her children were outside of their house on Nagawicka Road waiting for the school bus.

"As our bus was almost to a stop, an SUV went between our children and the bus," Harshbarger said.

Harshbarger's garage security cameras captured the whole incident -- showing less than two seconds go by from the time the SUV is neck-and-neck with the bus to the time the bus comes to a complete stop.


"If our kids were not being careful at that moment, this is easily something that could have been a tragic accident," Harshbarger said.

Police were able to track down the driver. But officers were unable to give her a citation. That is because state law says it is only illegal to go around a school bus if either the red lights are on or the stop sign is out. In this case, the amber lights were -- which simply alerts drivers that the bus is preparing to stop.

bus2Harshbarger said she now wants to get legislators involved.

"To look at this video and the current law and recognize that there are some loopholes now that aren't protecting our children," Harshbarger said. "In the meantime, parents have to be incredibly careful with their children at bus stops because drivers will not be cited for this type of behavior."

Delafield police say the driver of the SUV was understanding and apologetic about her behavior on the road.

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  • Patricia Corey

    Those kids were not itty bittys. By now they should have the common sense to look both ways before crossing? Why can’t the kids be picked up on the bus side? Why is it everyone elses fault? Hey moms, why don’t you take your own kids to school if you don’t feel it’s safe enough? How about parental responsibility.

      • Metal Maniac

        This yard looks like it is in the country, there are no curbs and roadway is very thin. It is clearly a lifestyle choice. You could live in a suburb or a city where there are sidewalks where the kids can wait for the bus. You can’t have it all, want to live in the middle of nowhere? Great, then your kids will need to know that the road in front of their house is 45 mph or greater. Want a safer street where your kids can play street hockey? Well then move to a suburb preferably a dead end road.

        Say you got your way, they make a law. That law is classified as a “garbage” law. Congrats you didn’t make a difference. Police are humans and can only recall the important laws. They are not legal books. As it is MPD won’t pull you over unless they think you committed a violent crime.

        -City kid who didn’t die because i had common sense to look both ways before crossing the street

      • care about kids

        Metal maniac not sure what you are talking about this road is 30 mph and hardly in the country. Happy to have a neighbor who cares about kids in our state whether they live in the city or country. This was not a problem when bus drivers were able to use their red lights, the amber lights although well intentioned have taken the control away from the bus driver whether you live in the country or in the city.

    • care about kids

      No these are not 4kers but on either side of this house there are small children. The problem is in the past buses were able to flash their red lights as they were coming to a stop previously. Now buses equipped with amber lights are no longer to be able to flash red lights to prevent drivers from going around a bus as they are coming to a stop.

  • Always Outspoken

    You can’t legislate decency, morality, or common sense. These are the things driver was guilty of not exercising.

    I say the police should release the driver’s name and address and let her deal with the backlash from the general public.

  • John

    Everyone is in such a damn hurry. I’m always cautious when driving near school buses. Those could be my kids. To say well you live in the country you have to expect these things is a moronic statement. Or these kids were old enough… Slow down around buses you morons. Is it really worth killing a kid since you are late to your yoga class. Common sense is really hard to find these days.


      I use to be in Law Enforcement and after retiring decided to do something I thought would be simple, drive a School Bus. I agree with you John. I’ve had people come around from behind me and from the front while my reds were on and Children around, trying to cross. And everytime that happens, the first thing that goes through my mind is, that could have been YOUR kid that you just missed hitting. I see it a lot. It’s actually scarier than most parents could imagine. I also believe, because I’ve been asked, people have no idea what they’re suppose to do when they see the flashing Amber lights. There’s a Judge all up in arms making a Federal case out of what he feels is the States failure to inform a handful of people how to get an I.D. for voting but when it comes to informing everyone what the Amber lights on a Bus means, crickets. And that involves, literally, the life of your child.

      • Trump2016

        Just another case of libs wanting to expand government. Instead of getting our kids at the bus stop on time, libs want to punish everyone just for the sake of irresponsible parents.

  • Str8shooter

    How about the fact the bus is equipped with a stop sign and red lights but failed to use them as they are trained and as the law requires to be compliant to enforcing violators. There is no loop hole. Sure the SUV SHOULD have thought to go slower near a bus but they aren’t required to because the bus driver didn’t do what they are supposed to. When does a school bus ever pick up children without using them? They made a mistake so the SUV was not required to stop.


      STR8SHOOTER, Not to be argumentative here but the Busdriver is required to activate the flashing AMBERS approximately 100 feet from his or her stop, while he or she is still moving. He or she CANNOT activate the RED flashing lights, which also activates the STOP SIGN, until they are at the pickup site itself, and are completely stopped. The reds on that Bus aren’t going to be on and the stop sign won’t be out until you see that Bus COMPLETELY STOPPED at the end of the driveway. Whether that makes sense or not, that’s the law.

      • care about kids

        Exactly!! In the past the bus driver was able to put the red lights on to prevent drivers from being able to go around a bus as they were coming to a stop. Now buses equipped with amber lights are not able to do that.

    • Trump2016

      The funny thing is the bus hasn’t come to a complete stop before the SUV passed it. Makes me wonder why people are defending an irresponsible parent who wants her kids to walk in front of a moving bus.

      • confused

        Exactly. You do NOT cross until the bus comes to a complete stop, the bus stop sign is out and YOU still look both ways before crossing. Back in the 70’s when people were responsible for themselves, our bus driver yelled at the dumb kids who’d dart across as they SEEN the bus coming. We lived in the sticks so it was 55 mph. Also, those kids got a phone call from the bus company. And we ALL got a reminder lecture from the bus driver.

      • care about kids

        Yes clearly a parent who encourages their kids to jump in front of a moving bus….LOL! You are clearly missing the whole point….

    • care about kids

      So parents in Delafield have it so good that we should not be concerned with bus saftey that affects the entire State of Wisconsin? This parent actually had to be encouraged by everyone in the community and social media to raise this issue as they are the ones who own the video tape. And you may ask why our neighbor has a video camera anyway. Not because they are flithy rich. No her husband spent any entire weekend dredging a line to place a camera after their then 6 year old was almost struck by a car when the bus was stopped and it’s red lights were flashing.