School is back in session and young students are waiting on street corners for the big, yellow bus to come pick them up. As students lace up their new shoes and head out to the bus stop, it’s time for motorists to be watchful to help prevent school bus accidents in Chicago.Our Chicago injury attorneys ask that all motorists use caution on our roadways throughout this school year, but especially through schools zones and residential neighborhoods. Remember that there are a number of laws in our state that drivers must abide by while sharing the roadways with school buses.
Road laws pertaining to school buses, provided by the Illinois State Board of Education:
-If you see that the lights on the bus are flashing red and you see the stop arm extended, then you’re required to stop. These signals mean that students are either getting on or off the bus. You can earn yourself a $150 fine if you neglect to stop for these buses. Do it more than once and you can face fines of roughly $500. In addition to the fines, state law says that drivers who neglect to stop for these buses will have their license suspended for three months on their first conviction and a year for their second.
-When a bus stops to pickup/drop off children on a two-lane road, drivers are required to stop at least 20 feet away from the bus. This will help to allow students to cross the road safely.
-When a bus stops on a four-lane road where two of the lanes travel in the same direction, then only the vehicles heading in the same direction of the bus are required to stop.
-On one-way streets, all motorists are required to stop.
-According to Illinois state law, drivers of school buses must stop at all railroad crossings. They are required to do so even when there are no students riding on the bus.
-Drivers should hold off on using their cell phones while traveling near a bus. As of January 2010, all drivers in the state of Illinois were banned from using a hand-held cell phone while they’re traveling in a school zone. Drivers are still allowed to use hands-free devices.
-Don’t speed through school zones. If you’re busted for having a lead-food in a school zone then you could earn yourself a minimum fine of $150.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that approximately 25 million students use a school bus to get to and from school each year. Unfortunately, a number of students are injured and killed in school bus-related accidents every year. In 2005, the NSC recorded more than 130 deaths resulting from school bus-related accidents on U.S. roadways. They also recorded another 11,000 injuries from these incidents during that year.
The number of these injuries and deaths can be reduced with an increased effort from motorists throughout the state. Remember to follow state ruled regarding travel around our schools buses and to be extra cautious when passing through school zones.
If you are involved in a school bus-related accident, the Chicago injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free consultations to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
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