Back to School Bus Safety
In recent years, there have been well-publicized tragedies involving death or serious injury to young children while getting on or off school buses. October of 2018 was a particularly heinous month, when nine children across the U.S. were struck in one week, and five of them were killed.
Drivers involved in these preventable crashes have been charged with reckless homicide, aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, and other charges relating to excessive speed and disobeying a school bus stop arm.
The only time a vehicle is not required to stop for a school bus is when both the vehicle and the bus are on a four-lane roadway (for example, Lake Cook Road) and the bus is stopped in the opposite direction from which a driver is traveling. Any other time, a driver must stop before meeting or overtaking (passing) a school bus that is stopped and loading or unloading passengers. A smart practice is when in doubt, STOP.
School bus stop arm violations carry stiff punishments; a first-time convicted violator will incur a $150 fine and their driving privileges will be suspended for three months. A second violation carries a $500 fine and a one-year license suspension.
School speed zones are in effect from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on school days when children are present. School zones have a posted 20 MPH speed limit and carry a minimum ticket fine of $150 for the first violation, plus a mandatory court appearance. Any subsequent violations carry a minimum $300 fine.
The police department believes strongly in enforcing school bus and school zone speed limits and will be heavily monitoring these areas now and throughout the school year. For questions or concerns, please contact Traffic Unit Sergeant Michelle Kondrat via email at email@example.com.