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New Law Captures Illegally Passing School Buses

When we put our children on a school bus in the morning, the last thing we think about is a car accident. When we are driving to work, there is nothing more aggravating than seeing someone whip around a school bus that is picking up or dropping off children. Yet, we have all seen people not drive safe or put the safety of any child running to or from the bus at risk.

Luckily, starting this year Illinois passed a law that implemented video camera’s in school buses to capture the license plates of those who pass a stopped school bus. If the bus has their mandatory stop signs and flashing lights displayed, then the footage is released to police officers. Drivers who are found guilty of passing a school bus can be faced with a civil penalty of $150 for first time offenders and $500 for repeated offenders. Under this new Illinois Law, drivers will be able to view the photograph taken of their vehicle passing the school bus. The school buses are now legally bound to displaying signs that state that they have cameras equipped on the bus. Just like many other new laws, this law was passed due to numerous deaths  caused by car accidents resulting from drivers passing school buses. The statistics are alarming. In 2013, it was estimated that more than 15 million drivers pass stopped buses every school year. We all know that our vision is highly obstructed by school buses and the chances of us being able to see a child who may bolt off in any direction is very unlikely. Sure, we have all been in a rush in the morning on the way to work. And yes, it is frustrating to be stuck behind a school bus. But did you know that since 2008 there have been 28 children killed by drivers who passed school buses. Chances are that many of those people thought that the rush they were in was more important than waiting behind the bus like they are legally obligated to do. Now these people are faced with murder charges and a lifetime of regret, all for being in a rush. Illinois hopes this new law will help to lower these unsettling statistics and bring more peace to parents who put trust in the school district that transport their children. A few things to keep in mind to ensure the safety of children getting on and off school buses:

  • Children are easily distracted and may start cross the street at any time.
  • Children don’t understand the danger of moving vehicles.
  • Children can’t judge vehicle speed or distance.
  • The chances that your view may be blocked by the bus are high
  • Children expect vehicles to stop for them at the school bus stop.

No matter how big of a hurry you may be in, never pass a school bus. You WILL get caught on camera.  The legal penalty is high, but the guilt and charges you could be faced with if a child is injured is immeasurable. Please, keep yourself and our children safe.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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