Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

Joliet Office


Plainfield Office


What Are the Penalties For Not Yielding to a School Bus in Illinois?

Posted on

Will County traffic violation defense lawyer

Every state has rules when it comes to approaching and passing stopped school buses while they pick up or drop off students. Illinois law states that all drivers must stop when they see a school bus that has its safety bar outstretched, its lights flashing, and its stop sign engaged. The only exception to the rule is when the school bus is stopped on a four-lane highway. In this case, traffic moving in the other direction can proceed without stopping. Failure to stop and keep the road safe for crossing children can lead to fines and suspension of a person’s driver’s license. However, should an accident occur during an illegal pass, the offender could face more serious felony charges.

How Is Illinois Keeping Bus Stops Safer for Kids?

It does take time for a school bus to pick up its young passengers, and some drivers can get impatient waiting for the bus to proceed. Other drivers could be distracted and not even realize that they are recklessly putting a child’s life in danger by driving around the bus.

Whatever the reason, it is unlawful for a driver to pass a stopped school bus, and it is dangerous to the children who could be crossing the street to get to their bus. Illinois punishes traffic violators by:

  • Making first offenders pay a $150 fine

  • Making subsequent offenders pay a $500 fine

  • Suspending driving privileges for three months for first offenses

  • Suspending a driver’s license for one year if a second offense occurs within five years of the first violation 

Since many drivers tend to just keep driving if they illegally pass a stopped school bus, the busses are equipped with front-facing cameras to capture license plates and any other images that can help identify the owner of a vehicle that passes the bus illegally. If the owner of the car was not the person driving at the time of the incident, he or she must provide the contact information of the person who was driving. If the owner cannot, he or she will be the one facing the consequences.

What if an Accident Occurs?

While waiting a few extra minutes for children to get on a school bus may be frustrating for a person who is in a hurry, the time saved by passing a bus illegally is not worth putting children at risk. Children have been struck, hurt, and sometimes killed by motorists who were too impatient to wait. Drivers who commit this type of offense may face severe charges, such as:

  • Aggravated Assault: This felony offense can be charged if a child is struck by a car when the accident could have been avoided. The driver, if convicted, will face a Class 3 or Class 4 felony, depending on the circumstances of the situation.

  • Involuntary Manslaughter (Reckless Homicide): This felony offense can be charged if a child is killed by a driver who is performing a reckless act that results in the death. Charges can be elevated to “aggravated” if the offense occurs within a school zone. The convicted offender will face Class 2 or Class 3 felony charges, depending on whether or not the offense is considered “aggravated.”

In addition to criminal charges, the offending driver could also face lawsuits for damage to property that occurred during the violation. He or she may also be required to pay compensation for a victim's medical bills and pain and suffering, as well as the grief and sorrow of the family members of a child who is killed.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Nothing is worth the death of a child. If a driver strikes a child, or even just illegally passes a school bus, it can change the lives of everyone involved. The family members of the child will have to grieve their loss, while the offending driver will face serious punishments for his or her actions. The experienced lawyers at Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help those motorists who are facing charges after allegedly passing a school bus illegally. To schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable Will County traffic violations lawyer, call our office at 815-666-1285.




  • Badges and Associations
  • Badges and Associations
  • Badges and Associations
Back to Top