School is back in session for many Rockford-area school districts, so now is the perfect time for an Illinois school bus laws refresher.

My daughters went back to school on Monday, and during the last three days at pickup, I have seen one alarming thing happen multiple times; people passing a school bus that has its stop sign out.

Illinois School Bus Laws Reminder For 2019/2020
Photo Credit: JerryX

I will admit that this particular school bus situation is a little tricky because it involves a bus with its stop sign out waiting for students who are released a few minutes before the rest of the school buses arrive.  Honestly, I'm also guilty of passing this specific bus in the past simply because I was unaware of what to do in this slightly grey area of school bus laws when students are not yet present. Now that I know what I should be doing, I will never forget it again.

Is It Ever Legal to Pass a School Bus In Illinois?

The laws regarding school bus safety in Illinois are pretty clear; if a bus is stopped and has its warning lights on and stop arm engaged, you CAN NOT pass. It doesn't matter if the bus is stopped on the opposite side of the street from the direction you are traveling or in a parking lot, if its stop sign is engaged you need to stop.

What Are the Fines for Illegally Passing a School Bus in Illinois?

If the safety of children is not a good enough reason for you to stop for school buses, maybe knowing how much you could be fined if you are caught will.

According to Appelman Law LLC;

 Beginning in 2020, the minimum fine for drivers who illegally pass a stopped school bus will be met with a minimum fine of $300. The minimum fine for subsequent offenses used to be $500, but on January 1 that was bumped up to a $1,000 minimum.

Besides laying down a good chunk of cash, getting caught illegally passing a school bus could lead to your driver's license getting suspended or your car insurance rates increasing.

Here's a summary of school bus safety and laws that the Rockford Police Department posted a few years ago that should help answer any of your further questions...

13 Stupid Illinois Laws

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