PEORIA, Ill.– When driving up to a stop sign on the road drivers are required to come to a halt. The same applies to drivers who are driving toward a school bus with an extended stop-arm.
Peoria Public Schools transportation director, Josh Collins, said school bus drivers report as many as 80 stop-arm violations a day. This means a lot of people are breaking the rules and putting the lives of children at risk.
“We’re dealing with children so what could happen is you could injure a student,” Collins said. “If we were dropping off and the student was crossing the road you could easily hit the student and at that point, a student could be seriously injured or even killed.”
By Illinois law, drivers are required to stop.
“All Vehicles in either direction must stop and it doesn’t matter if it’s in a parking lot or on the roadway, you have to stop before you come up to the bus,” Peoria Police officer, Mike Ott said.
Collins said he thinks most people are aware of it, but may not take it seriously.
“They get impatient and they decide they are going to go ahead and go around the school bus because they don’t think it’s gonna be a big deal,” Collins said.
Ott said the department is taking a zero-tolerance approach throughout the year. If you are caught passing a school bus stop sign, you can be fined and your license could be suspended.
Even if you weren’t caught by an officer at that exact moment, the bus driver can and will jot down your information to file a report. Collins said they will turn the information over to the Peoria Police Department.
“Unfortunately, the only way a lot of people are going to respect that stop arm is if there are consequences for people running it,” Collins said. “So I appreciate them for making sure that there are consequences for those who decide they’re not going to stop.”
Collins adds that he is pleased with the police department’s effort to help keep children safe.
You can learn more about the Illinois law here.