• A red STOP sign on a District U-46 school bus

    Safety Tips

    yellow line

    School bus drivers do everything they can to keep students safe, but drivers and parents play a critical role, too. By following the bus safety laws and guidelines, we can all help protect the children who ride school buses in our communities.

    Violating school bus safety laws in Illinois can result in a fine, citation, or loss of driver’s license. When driving near our school buses, please remember the following guidelines. 

    Stop for School Buses

    If you are traveling behind a school bus, please follow at a safe distance, because the vehicles make frequent stops. When you see a school bus slowing down or stopping, make sure to be aware of not only the bus but also the surrounding area. Children are likely nearby, waiting to board or crossing the street to board or after exiting. 

    Illegal School Bus Passing

    Illegal school bus passing poses a significant threat to children and others on the road. In Illinois, it is illegal for you to pass a school bus while the stop-arm is extended and the red lights are flashing. This applies to highways, streets, private roads, and school property, including when school buses are in parking lots or in a drop-off or pick-up lane at school. (The only exception is on a four-lane highway if you are in the lanes going in the opposite direction of the bus. The Illinois State Police offer more information here.) 

    Understanding School Bus Lights 

    Yellow flashing lights indicate the bus is preparing to stop to load or unload children. You should slow down and prepare to stop your vehicle.

    Red flashing lights and extended stop arms indicate the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. You must stop your car and wait until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving, before you can start driving again.

    Reminders for Students 

    Parents and caregivers can help children be safe around school buses by reminding them to stand as far back from the curb as possible when waiting for a bus. Before boarding, children should wait until the bus has come to a complete stop and the driver signals that it’s safe to get on. After exiting the bus, children should never cross the street behind a bus, only in front of it and after making eye contact with the driver and getting his or her signal. Then they should look left-right-left to make sure it’s safe to cross. While riding the bus, students should stay seated at all times and keep their hands, feet, and head inside the bus. 

    Other Resources: 

    Illinois Rules of the Road 2023 


    Danger Zones