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Illinois School Bus Safety Laws

Posted on December 14, 2022

Most people thoroughly understand the importance of traffic laws, including speed limits, the need to stop at stop signs and stop lights, and the need to yield the right of way. However, understanding how to respond to school buses when they stop is critical. The lives of children and the safety of others are at risk if individuals do not know how to operate a vehicle around a school bus. Here, we want to review Illinois school bus safety laws so you know what to do when approaching them.

Your Responsibility Around Buses as an Illinois Driver

Illinois law has various requirements related to stopping for school buses, depending on the type of roadway involved.

If a school bus is traveling on a four-lane roadway and at least two of those lanes are traveling in the opposite direction, the only vehicles that have to stop when the bus stops are the ones traveling in the same direction as the school bus. Students are not allowed to cross four-lane highways if the roadway involves traffic coming in the opposite direction.

If a school bus is traveling on a one-way roadway with traffic all moving in the same direction, every single lane of traffic going in the same direction as the bus must come to a complete stop when the bus stops and activates its emergency flashers and stop sign.

Motorists are allowed to resume forward motion if one of the following occurs:

  1. The bus resumes forward motion
  2. The bus driver signals the motorist to proceed forward
  3. The flashing lights are turned off, and the extended stop sign is no longer extended

The majority of children that are injured or killed as a result of bus stop incidents are not injured on the school bus but rather outside of the bus as a result of the negligence of other motorists who failed to stop when they were required to do so. That is why Illinois legislators and education officials take bus stop safety so seriously.

The laws related to vehicles stopping for a bus can be found in the Illinois Vehicle Code under sections 625 ILCS 5/11-1414, 5/11-1415, 5/12-803, 5/12-805, and 5/12-807.2.

Consequences of Failing to Stop for a Bus

Individuals can face significant penalties for illegally passing a school bus in Illinois. For a first offense of passing a school bus, there is a mandatory minimum fine of $300 as well as a license suspension of three months.

If a person illegally passes a school bus a second or subsequent time within five years after the previous conviction, there will be a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000 as well as a driver’s license suspension of one year. Any motorist cited for illegally passing a school bus will not be eligible for court supervision.

In the event an individual strikes a child while illegally passing a school bus, it is very likely that they will face additional traffic citations as well as criminal charges related to the incident.

These penalties may seem harsh, particularly for those who make honest mistakes. However, they are the only way to ensure that drivers take school bus safety seriously.