School Zone Safety
Tragedies occur when drivers and pedestrians do not know or follow the rules of the road. Across the nation there are more than 230 million children that begin and end the day on a school bus. With buses and children crowding the streets again, reviewing the “rules of the road” from the Illinois Division of Traffic Safety and the Elburn Police Department can help save lives.
School Zone Markings
Keeping children safe in designated school zones is a top priority. School zones are marked with yellow signing and indicate times of reduced speed during school arrival and dismissal times. As a driver, the most important thing you can do to protect children in school zones is to slow down. Parents, teachers, and drivers not only have the responsibility of safely sharing the road with other motorists, school buses, pedestrians, and cyclists, but they also have the added duty of teaching children about traffic safety.
Rules You Need to Know
When driving near school buses, remember:
- It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and its stop arm is extended.
- On undivided roadways, with no physical barrier or median, vehicles must stop on both sides of the roadway.
- Yellow flashing lights indicate that the bus is preparing to load or unload children. Motorists should slow down and prepare to stop their vehicles.
- Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate that the bus has stopped, and children are getting on or off. Motorists approaching from either direction must wait until the red lights stop flashing before proceeding.
- Please share these tips with your children if he or she is walking to school or taking the school bus.
When riding the school bus:
- Have a safe place to wait for your bus away from traffic and the street.
- Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver signals you to enter.
- When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk ten giant steps away from the bus. Keep a wide distance between you and the bus. Also, remember that the bus driver can see you best when you are away from the bus.
- If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least ten feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road, until you can turn around and see the driver.
- Make sure that the driver can see you.
- Wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross. When the driver signals, walk across the road, keeping an eye out for sudden traffic changes.
- Be aware of the street traffic around you. Drivers are required to follow certain rules of the road concerning school buses, however, not all do. Protect yourself and be on the look out.
When walking to school:
- Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections whenever possible.
- Obey and follow all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard.
Tips for parents and other motorists:
- Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks – it’s Illinois State Law. Crosswalks exist at all intersections even if they are unmarked.
- Remember pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks; motorists must yield to them when turning.
- Stop for pedestrians when making a right-turn-on-red or left-turn on full green leaving enough room at intersections so that pedestrians can cross safely.
- Drivers must vigilantly watch the roadway at all times and always follow the speed limit which may be lowered in designated school zones.
School Bus Laws
- Motorists may not proceed until the school bus either turns off the flashing red lights or resumes motion.
- School bus drivers may report a violation of the above code section.