|SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois State Police (ISP) is reminding motorists of the laws and penalties for passing school buses and speeding through school zones now that students are returning to classrooms. "Students are a valuable resource for the future, and these laws are in place to protect them," said ISP Director Sam W. Nolen.|
Nolen reminded motorists that officers strictly enforce school bus laws which state it is unlawful for a driver to pass a school bus that has stopped to load or unload children when the signal arm is extended. The driver is required to stop the vehicle before passing the school bus from either direction. An exception is if the driver is on a highway with four or more lanes with at least two lanes of traffic in either direction. If the driver is going in the opposite direction of the bus, they do not have to stop.
Motorists convicted of passing a stopped school bus will have their driver's license suspended for three months for the first offense and one year for the second, if the second conviction occurs within five years. Additionally, the fine for a first conviction is $150 and $500 for a second or subsequent conviction.
Illinois law also states that a driver arrested for speeding in a school zone must appear in court and face a minimum fine of $150. The fine for a second or subsequent violation of the law is $300. The speed limit in school zones when students are present is 20 mph.
Nolen reminded school bus drivers to call police with the license plate number of vehicles that illegally pass them. In those instances, Illinois statute provides that the owner is responsible for identifying the operator of the vehicle if they were not driving when the violation occurred. Otherwise, the owner faces the charges.