School Bus Safety Illinois

We’ve all been behind a school bus during our ride to work in the morning, and it may be tempting to pass that bus, however you must resist the temptation, and abide by the law; a child’s life may be at stake. With the new school year starting, it’s important to remember some of the basic school bus safety laws. 

Did you know that the most dangerous part of the bus ride is the bus stop? 

Our children are at the greatest risk when they are getting on or off the school bus. Most kids killed in bus-related accidents are the five to seven year olds who are getting on or off their bus. They get hit by the school bus or by a car who is illegally passing a stopped school bus.  We must remember that when we drive through neighborhoods that are near schools and bus stops, need to pay special attention to our surroundings.

What Does the Law Say?

Never Pass a Stopped School Bus 

When a school bus is traveling on a two-lane road and stops to pick up or drop off kids, the vehicles in all the lanes of traffic must stop. You need to stop at least 20 ft prior to reaching the bus to allow the kids to cross the street safely.

You can find the laws regarding stopping for school buses in the Illinois Vehicle Code under Sections 5/11-1414, 5/11-1415, 5/12-803, 5/12-805, and 5/12-807.2. (625 ILCS… 5/11-1414, 5/11-1415, 5/12-803, 5/12-805 and 5/12-807.2) The law applies to all drivers, including drivers on school property, who meet a school bus that is operating all of the warning signals indicating that students are entering or exiting the school bus and/ or may be crossing the roadway. 

STOP If red lights are flashing. The flashing red lights show that kids are getting on or off the bus and may be crossing the street.

School Bus Laws


Most of the time when kids are killed or injured in bus transportations, it doesn’t happen on the bus itself. Usually it happens outside of the bus. In the majority of cases, they are struck by motorists who fail to stop for the flashing red lights and extended stop arm. When a school bus is traveling on a one-way roadway and is stopped to pick up or drop off kids, all lanes of traffic must stop, regardless of the number of lanes of traffic.

When a school bus is traveling on a four-lane roadway with at least two lanes of traffic traveling in the opposite direction, only those lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction as the school bus must stop. Children are not be required to cross four or more lanes of traffic to reach their residence.


Illinois state law requires that all school buses stop at railroad crossings, whether or not anyone is in it. The bus driver must pull to the right lane and display the hazard warning lights, stop the bus between 15 and 50 feet of the first rail of the crossing, open the driver door, look and listen for an approaching train, and then proceed across the tracks without changing gears. You should never try to cross rail tracks behind a school bus before the bus has cleared the tracks. Some rail crossings have limited space between the crossings and stop signs or signals on the other side of the tracks. 

Keep Our Kids Safe, Remember These:

  • Children are easily distracted and may start to cross the street without warning.
  • Children don’t understand the danger of moving vehicles.
  • Children cannot judge speed or distance of oncoming vehicles.
  • Your view of children may be blocked by the bus.
  • Children expect vehicles to stop for them at the bus stop.

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