What You Need to Know About Illinois' School Bus Safety Laws | Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.
legal blog

What You Need to Know About Illinois’ School Bus Safety Laws

Written by Jared Staver

Read Jared's Bio

Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents

School bus safety laws are essential. If you suspect laws were broken and your child was hurt as a result, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Our Chicago school bus accident attorneys have handled many of these claims successfully, and we will go to work to help you, too. Call (312) 236-2900 or use our online contact form for a free consultation.

Why Focus on School Bus Safety?

In October 2018, three children were killed and another injured in Rochester, Indiana, because a driver failed to stop for a school bus’s flashing red lights while the children were crossing. In December, a semi-truck traveling the wrong way on I-74 crashed head-on into a school bus returning home to Bloomington, killing two.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, children are at greatest risk of injury or death when getting on and off the school bus. Most children killed in school bus accidents are five to seven years old and are hit by cars going around a stopped bus. These ten feet surrounding the bus on all sides are known as the “danger zone.”

Illinois’ School Bus Laws

It does not matter whether a driver is on school property or a public road—these laws must be obeyed. In light of the recent tragedies, Illinois is considering stricter penalties for motorists who violate the following laws:

  • STOP for school buses displaying flashing red lights and an extended stop arm. That means children are entering or exiting the bus. Do not attempt to pass the bus.
  • On a two-lane roadway, all lanes of traffic must STOP when red lights are flashing on the bus. Motorists coming both directions should stop at least 20 feet from the school bus to give children room to cross.
  • On a four-lane roadway, only the lanes of traffic going the same direction as the bus must STOP behind the bus. The school bus driver will not make children cross two lanes of opposing traffic to reach their homes.
  • On a one-way roadway, all lanes of traffic must STOP behind the bus. It does not matter how wide the road is. Passing a school bus with flashing red lights is not allowed when all traffic is traveling in the same direction.
  • All school buses are required by law to stop at railroad crossings. Do not attempt to pass the bus on the tracks or cross until the bus has safely crossed.

If you break these school bus safety laws, the penalties for a first offense are a minimum fine of $150 and a three-month license suspension. For a second offense or subsequent conviction within five years, the minimum fine is $500 and a one-year license suspension, according to Illinois State Police.

Additional School Bus Safety Tips

Traffic may proceed when the bus begins moving again, or the school bus driver motions to indicate drivers should go ahead.

For motorists, it is especially important to never pass on the right of a school bus! Children do not behave like adults. Even if there is no indication that children are present, it is safer not to pass to the right of a bus, because that is where the door is located.

Remember to obey all school bus warning signs and zones. When in doubt, slow down or move away. The speed limit in school zones is 20 miles per hour when children are present, and drivers can be given a citation for speeding.

Filing a Lawsuit After a School Bus Accident

We entrust our children to a team of educators, administrators, and other school district professionals nearly every day. When something goes wrong and your child is injured while in someone else’s care, that person should be held responsible to pay for the costs.

Hit-and-run drivers are a huge danger to student pedestrians, but sometimes, a bus driver’s negligence can also be to blame. Perhaps the bus driver stopped outside of a school bus zone, or started moving before the children had fully exited the bus. Some students have even been hit by a bus driver after exiting the bus!

If the driver was contracted with a private company that did not properly train them, or a part on the bus malfunctioned, there are more parties who may be held liable for your child’s injury.

School bus lawsuits often involve more than one injured student, and must deal with a government agency—the school district. A public entity claim will have shorter filing deadlines and a higher standard of proof of negligence, so please do not wait to contact a lawyer!

After a Bus Accident, Call a Chicago Injury Attorney

If you have any questions about school bus safety laws, or would like us to investigate your child’s accident, contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Our Chicago school bus accident attorneys know how to research these cases and find the guilty parties, and we are dedicated to our clients’ well-being. Call (312) 236-2900 to get started on receiving justice for your child. You can also use our online contact form.

Free Consultation
(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
Skip to content