A bill moving through the Illinois legislature would double the fine for any violators who drive around stopped school buses.
The bill passed unanimously through the Illinois Senate. The first offense fine would increase from $150 to $300 and a second offense fine would move from $500 to $1,000.
The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker for consideration.
Bill sponsor, state representative Darren Bailey thanked his colleagues in the Senate who, “see the benefit of this change to help discourage drivers from ignoring when school buses are stopped to pick up or drop off students.”
“These fines are intended to help stop people from putting children in danger,” said Bailey. “We know that when you hit people in their wallets, they tend to respond because money does not grow on trees.”
Drivers are required to stop both ways when a school bus extends its stop arm for the purpose of loading and unloading children.
The law applies to any and all locations including, but not limited to, highways, roadways, private roadways, parking lots, and school property. A full stop is required if the school bus is displaying the visual signals specified in the code (i.e. flashing lights, stop signal arm extended, etc.) and the driver should not proceed until the visual signals cease, the school bus resumes motion, or the school bus driver signals the vehicle to proceed.
The law does not require a driver to stop on a four-lane highway when traveling on the opposite two lanes from the school bus.
Passing a school bus while loading or unloading can lead to a driver’s license suspension. Currently, the Illinois Secretary of State will automatically suspend the driver’s license of anyone convicted of violating this law for a period of three months.
In addition, the court will impose a minimum fine for a first offense plus mandatory court costs. A second or subsequent conviction for this offense within five years of the first conviction will result in a one-year driver’s license suspension and a minimum mandatory fine.