Many children rely on the school bus to get to and from school. Illinois has enacted school bus safety laws to protect those children. When negligent drivers break the law regarding school buses, they may cause an accident and cause serious injuries to children. If you or a loved one has been harmed in an accident, the Chicago injury attorneys at Krzak Rundio Law Group are here to hold irresponsible drivers accountable.
Before learning more about how we can help you, let’s take a look at the school bus laws in Illinois and the unique situations Chicago drivers should be aware of when they encounter a school bus on the road.
Illinois School Bus Laws
If you’re driving and you’re behind a school bus on its route to pick up or drop off students, you should know, understand and abide by the laws that apply to you.
There are certain rules that apply when traveling on a two-lane road. This is a roadway where cars are coming from both directions. In this situation, cars in both lanes need to stop 20 feet away from the school bus when it stops—it will indicate a stop with a red stop sign and may have flashing red lights as well. These devices alert drivers that children will be getting on or coming off of the school bus. It’s important to remember that many young children do not have much traffic experience. Children typically:
- Do not understand the dangers of traffic;
- Are focused on getting to their destination;
- May not be able to see around the bus; and
- Will think other vehicles will stop for them
With these points in mind, it is easy to see that children may run across the street without looking. Make sure to come to a complete stop and be exercise patience when there is a stopped school bus. While it is legal to resume driving when the school bus moves on—be sure to proceed with caution. Children may also linger or congregate in the area where they disembark from a school bus. Inattention on the part of a driver in the area of children can have devastating consequences.
When you’re on a roadway with multiple lanes traveling in the same direction and a school bus stops, all lanes of traffic must stop. The number of lanes traveling in the same direction as the bus doesn’t impact this.
A four-lane roadway may have two lanes traveling in one direction and the other two lanes traveling in the opposite direction. If a bus stops, only the vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus need to stop. Vehicles traveling opposite the school bus can continue driving. However, it is important that these drivers proceed with caution.
Sharing the Road with a Chicago School Bus
When you’re driving near a school bus, it’s important to be a cautious and alert driver. When buses stop, the area around the vehicle is referred to as the death zone. You already know to stop when the bus does, but there are some other things you should consider when sharing the road with a school bus.
Never pass a school bus on the right. Children may be exiting the bus and will be on the road at this time. It’s also important to be patient with school buses when crossing train tracks. Buses are required by law to stop at train tracks. Do not pass the bus. Wait until the bus has cleared the tracks and see how much space is behind the bus before carefully proceeding. If you’re following the bus but there is traffic in front of it, the bus may have space to cross the tracks, but you may not. If there is traffic behind you, you could be trapped on the tracks and left in a dangerous situation.
Exhibit your regular safe driving behaviors when driving in the area of a bus on the road. Refrain from following too closely, maintain the speed limit, and be aware that a large school bus will take more time to slow down and make turns, so the driver will need more space to execute these maneuvers.
If you’re driving through a school zone, slow down to the given the speed limit that’s posted for that area. Speeding through a school zone can have devastating consequences and result in a citation and hefty fine.
Penalties for passing a school bus are severe. The first offense results in a fine with a mandatory minimum level of $150 and a license suspension of three months. If there is a second offense or another conviction within five years, the mandatory minimum fine increases to $500 and a one year license suspension.
Do You Need Help After a School Bus Accident?
After a school bus accident, you may not know who to turn to. While you’re trying to manage hospital expenses, future care, and taking care of your injured child, pursuing a lawsuit may seem overwhelming. That’s where we come in.
Krzak Rundio Law Group has experienced, compassionate lawyers who stand ready to represent you. They are prepared and have the resources to take on the responsible party and hold them accountable for their actions. They will focus on the legal case so you can focus on getting your child healthy. Irresponsible drivers don’t prioritize safety when they decide to drive negligently near a school bus. A car accident claim can send them a message on how dangerous their decision was. Krzak Rundio Law Group can help you move forward with confidence. Contact our office today for a free no obligation consultation.