8 Deaths Nationally Prompt Illinois Warning on Driving Past School Buses

8 Deaths Nationally Prompt Illinois Warning on Driving Past School Buses

The Kane County Regional Office of Education is sharing a warning to drivers from Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White as students here in Kane County are back in school this week.

At least eight children across the U.S. were killed last year by motorists who failed to stop for school buses loading or discharging passengers. Five of those kids were killed over two days in November, including a 9-year-old girl and her 6-year-old twin brothers in Rochester, IN.

White doesn’t want a similar tragedy to happen here.

It is illegal to pass a school bus whose red stop lights are lashing in all 50 states. And yet, a one-day survey of 38 states by the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Servicers recorded 84,000 incidents of motor vehicles illegally passing stopped school buses.

“That was in just one day,” White said. “School bus safety is a responsibility to be shared by everyone in the community, not just parents and school officials. We all are stakeholders in the safety of our communities’ children.”

School Bus Safety in Illinois

As part of the state’s Toby Tire School Bus Safety program, officials emphasize the dangers of crossing the street, no matter the purpose or time of day.

Efforts have produced positive results. White says Illinois leads the nation in school bus safety and has compiled an enviable record of fatality-free miles covered by Illinois school buses.

“We warn children to always look both ways while crossing the street,” White said. “That means all the time, not only while crossing in a school bus loading zone.”

At this time of year, school-aged children should be reminded of the fundamentals of student transportation safety:

  • Stay away from strangers.
  • Always look both ways while crossing the street, even in bus loading zones.
  • Maintain decorum on the bus by speaking in normal tones and always staying seated.
  • Always stay clear of the 10-foot “danger zone” that surrounds the bus.

SOURCE: Secretary of State’s Office news release, Kane County Regional Office of Education

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