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When must traffic stop for a school bus?

Every day throughout the Chicago area, children climb aboard school busses in order to get to class. A parent must trust that the bus their child takes is mechanically sound and that the driver is careful and capable. A collision involving a school bus certainly has the frightening potential to cause injury to the young passengers on board. But of greater concern should be what happens as a child is getting off or on a bus.

The majority of children who are killed or injured in school bus related accidents are hit by drivers who attempt to illegally pass a halted bus. But what laws must drivers obey to help ensure the safety of child pedestrians as they exit or board a school bus? The following are summaries of laws contained in the Illinois Vehicle Code:

  • When driving on a one-way road, all vehicles are required to stop for a halted school bus that is loading or unloading passengers.
  • All traffic on a two-lane road must stop if a school bus is dropping off or picking up students. Vehicles should come to a stop a minimum of 20 feet from the bus so as to allow students safe passage across the road.
  • On a roadway with four lanes or more, vehicles moving in the direction opposite of the school bus are not required to stop. Vehicles traveling behind the school bus are required to stop.

The importance of motorists adhering to these laws cannot be understated. Children do not always pay careful attention to their surroundings and thus are very vulnerable. Tragedy could ensue if a driver fails to stop when approaching a school bus that is surrounded by children.

A school bus-related accident could dramatically alter the course of a child’s life. The child may even require special long-term accommodations and therapy.

If your child has suffered an injury due to a negligent driver who disobeyed traffic laws, you may wish to pursue legal action. A Chicago accident attorney could possibly help you seek justice and compensation.