Bus Safety

When a school bus is traveling on a two-lane roadway and is stopped to pick up or drop off pupils, the vehicles in all lanes of traffic must stop. Vehicles should stop at least 20 feet before reaching the school bus to allow pupils to cross the roadway safely.

The laws regarding vehicles stopping for school buses can be found in the Illinois Vehicle Code under Sections 5/11-1414, 5/11-1415, 5/12-803, 5/12-805, and 5/12-807.2. (625 ILCS… 5/11-1414, 5/11-1415, 5/12-803, 5/12-805 and 5/12-807.2) These laws apply to all drivers, including those on school property, who meet or overtake a school bus that is operating all of the appropriate warning signals indicating that pupils are exiting or boarding the school bus and may be crossing the roadway.  


  • Become easily distracted and may start across the street without warning.
  • Don't understand the danger of moving vehicles.
  • Can't judge vehicle speed or distance.
  • May be blocked from view by the bus.


Most importantly, children expect vehicles to stop for them at the school bus stop.

If red lights are flashing, STOP!

They show that children are getting on or off the bus and may be crossing the street.


CAUTION: The majority of children injured or killed in pupil transportation are not injured or killed on the school bus, but outside the bus. Most of them are struck by motorists who fail to stop for the flashing red lights and extended stop arm. When a school bus is traveling on a one-way roadway and is stopped to pick up or drop off pupils, all lanes of traffic must stop, regardless of the number of lanes of traffic.

When a school bus is traveling on a four-lane roadway with at least two lanes of traffic traveling in the opposite direction, only those lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction as the school bus must stop. Pupils shall not be required to cross four or more lanes of traffic to reach their residence.


State law requires all school buses to stop at railroad crossings, whether or not there are pupils on board. The school bus driver will pull to the right-hand lane and display the hazard warning lights, stop the bus within 15 and 50 feet of the first rail of the rail grade crossing, open the driver window and service door, look and listen for an approaching train, and then proceed across the tracks without changing gears. Other vehicles should not try to cross the tracks behind the school bus until the bus has cleared the tracks and there is room for the vehicle behind the bus on the other side. Some rail crossings have limited space between rail crossings and stop signs or signals on the other side of the tracks. If the school bus must make a stop after crossing the tracks, a vehicle following the bus may be trapped on the tracks until the bus moves or the stop signal light changes. This would have tragic results should a train approach the crossing and vehicles are unable to go forward or backward to clear the tracks. (safemotorists.com)