Back-to-school signals refresher course for drivers
Last updated 8/21/2019 at 4:32pm | View PDF
Before long, everyone will be completely acclimated to the back-to-school routine.
Students at Hinsdale Central High School, who began classes eight days ago, already may be settling in to the new schedule. Kids in Community Consolidated Elementary District 181 students have their first day of school tomorrow, Aug. 23.
But the start of the 2019-20 school year doesn’t affect only students and staff. Those of us who are dropping kids off, picking kids up or even driving through town on the way to work or running an errand need to pay extra attention to the buses and students now traveling to and from school.
The following safety tips — compiled from the National Safety Council, Illinois State Police and Illinois State Board of Education websites — are designed to keep students safe, whether they are walking, being chauffeured by a parent or taking the bus to and from school.
• Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or stop sign or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you. This could put them in the path of moving traffic.
• In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection.
• Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign.
• Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas.
• Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians.
• Don’t double park when dropping off or picking up children, as it blocks visibility for children and other vehicles.
• Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school.
• Carpool (or walk!) to reduce the number of vehicles at the school.
• When a school bus is traveling on a two-lane road and is stopped to pick up or drop off children, vehicles in both lanes of traffic must stop. Vehicles should stop at least 20 feet away from the bus to allow students to cross the road safely.
• When a school bus is traveling on a four-lane roadway with at least two lanes of traffic traveling in the opposite direction, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop.
• When a school bus is stopped at a railroad crossing — required by law whether or not students are on board — drivers should not try to cross the tracks behind the bus until the bus has cleared the tracks and there is room for the vehicle behind the bus on the other side. Drivers also should leave plenty of room for the bus to maneuver or back up in case of emergency.
A motorist cited for illegally passing a school bus is not eligible for court supervision. The violation carries a mandatory minimum fine of $150 and a three-month drivers license suspension. Second offenses carry a mandatory minimum fine of $500 and a yearlong license suspension.
Careless or distracted driving, of course, can carry a much higher price for its victims.
Let’s all do our part to pay attention, know and follow the law and make this school year a safe one.