School Bus Safety A Priority As School Begins

shutterstock_177761759-300x200 School Bus Safety A Priority As School BeginsSchool bus safety will once again be a priority as summer draws to a close. Strict laws involving buses help protect Illinois children. Penalties for breaking these laws can be steep. Accidents involving school buses may involve injury or even death. An injury attorney Chicago can provide information for seeking compensation when a careless driver causes an accident.

Going back to school is an exciting time for many children. Children expect traffic to stop for school buses, and they may not be cautious about crossing streets. Younger children may not understand how dangerous cars can be.

When To Stop

If a bus is traveling on a two-lane road and stops to pick up or drop off a child, all traffic must stop on both sides of the street. If a bus is stopping on a four-lane road where two of the lanes are going the opposite direction, the cars going the opposite direction do not need to stop. Students will not be required to cross four lanes of traffic.

The majority of children killed while using provided transportation are hit outside the bus in what is known as the “danger zone” or “death zone”. Motorists do not yield to the flashing red lights and stop arm and strike a child attempting to cross the road. If a child is struck by a motorist who failed to yield, the family should immediately contact an injury attorney Chicago to ensure that the child’s rights are protected.

Penalties for Passing

Motorists who illegally pass a school bus or speed in a school zone are subject to penalties. Many buses are equipped with camera equipment, and many of the passengers and even the driver may possess a smartphone that can record. The penalties include:

  • First offense: Mandatory minimum fine of $150 and driver’s license is suspended for three months
  • Second offense (if it occurs within 5 years of the first offense): Mandatory minimum fine of $500 and driver’s license is suspended for a year
  • Speeding in a school zone when children are present: Minimum fine of $150 and driver must appear in court

All hand-held devices such as cell phones are banned while driving in Illinois. Only hands-free technology like Bluetooth or speakerphones is allowed. All cell phone use is prohibited in a school zone, however. Fines start at $75.


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