Illinois Department of Transportation, Erica Borggren, Acting Secretary
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Answers to Your Questions

                       I D O T • DIVISION OF TRAFFIC SAFETY • COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SAFETY SECTION

Protect our Children!
Know and Obey School Bus Laws

School is in session again. When you see a yellow school bus be prepared to stop! School bus laws are designed to protect children, not to make motorists late for work, late for an appointment or late for whatever is so important that motorists disregard a stopped, flashing school bus. Consider this, would you rather be late or be responsible for the death of a child?

The majority of children injured or killed in pupil transportation are not injured or killed on the school bus, but outside the bus. Most are struck by motorists who fail to stop for the flashing red lights and extended stop arm. The area around the bus is often referred to as the “DEATH ZONE.”

When the red lights at the top of the bus are flashing and the stop arm panel is extended, motorists are required to STOP at any location. This includes, but is not limited to, motorists traveling from either direction on a two-lane roadway; motorists traveling in any lane on a one-way street; and/or motorists traveling through parking lots.

The only exception to this law is as follows:

The driver of a vehicle upon a highway having four or more lanes which permits at least two lanes of traffic to travel in opposite directions need not stop such vehicle upon meeting a school bus which is stopped in the opposing roadway; and need not stop such vehicle when driving upon a controlled access highway when passing a school bus traveling in either direction that is stopped in a loading zone adjacent to the surfaced or improved part of the controlled access highway where pedestrians are not permitted to cross.

Flashing amber lights are activated during the last 100 feet traveled by the school bus before stopping within an urban area (200 feet outside an urban area). The amber flashing signal lamps serve as a pre-warning that the bus is preparing to stop. Flashing red lights and the extended stop arm mean that the bus is stopped to either load or unload school children.

Any person convicted of passing a stopped school bus will lose his/her driving privileges for 3 months and be fined $150. If a motorist is convicted a second or subsequent time within 5 years of the original conviction, his/her driving privileges will be suspended for one year and he/she will be fined $500.

If you have any questions regarding school bus regulations, contact the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Traffic Safety, Commercial Vehicle Safety Section at (217) 785-1181 or TTY (217) 524-4875.

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