With winter breaks over, you may notice schoolchildren going to and from school on your daily commute. Refresh your memory on common school bus safety protocol so that you're prepared to share the road and prevent students from suffering pedestrian injuries.
Stop For School Buses
On any road – outside of a school zone and within a school zone – you MUST stop for a bus when the bus's red lights are flashing and the "STOP" arm is extended. This also applies to buses in parking lots or anywhere else. It is illegal to pass a school bus when the red lights are on and the stop sign arm is extended. Children are boarding and de-boarding the bus at this time, so it's really important for motorists to stop.
Illinois is serious about this law: A motorist can get a ticketed for this violation and then must appear in court. The motorist stands to lose their license for three months if convicted, and for longer if it is a second offense.
On a two-lane roadway, motorists going in either direction must stop for a flashing-and-arm-extended school bus. That's because children are likely to run across the lanes of traffic to get to the other side. On a four-lane street where two lanes of traffic are traveling in the opposite direction of the bus, the drivers going in the opposite direction of the bus do not have to stop. But you would have to stop if traveling in the same direction as the bus.
Remember that flashing yellow lights mean you should slow down and prepare to stop for the bus; the red lights will follow close behind. Don't speed up to try to beat the bus when you see the yellow lights.
You can proceed as normal once the bus begins moving again.
Protect Children Traveling To and From The Bus
Children are much more at risk for injury or death when approaching or leaving a bus, than when riding the bus, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA says 264 schoolchildren were killed in school-transportation accidents from 2008 to 2017, and that the majority of those fatal injuries didn't occur on the bus. Of those tragedies, 203 of the children were walking to the bus, waiting for the bus, biking, or traveling in another vehicle.
Just because you aren't near a bus stop or in a school zone does not mean children aren't around. Many of them must walk along roadways and cross the road to get to the bus. Practice basic good driving to protect them:
- Don't speed
- Don't text
- Don't drive distracted
- Keep your eyes, hands and mind on the task of driving
- Never drink and drive
- Prioritize 7-9 hours of sleep each night so you don't fall victim to fatigued driving
- Obey all signals, stop signs and other rules
You may need to give yourself more time to get to and from work now that children are back in school following winter break. You may need to stop for buses and for children crossing the roadway. Allowing extra time means you'll feel less rushed and will be better able to focus on the road.
Was Your Child Injured in a Car Accident Caused by Someone Else?
If you or a loved one was injured in a Chicago auto accident caused by someone else's carelessness, our experienced attorneys are ready to help you pursue maximum compensation. The first step is to determine if you have a case. For a free case review, please call the Sklare Law Group at 312-263-0771.