The beginning of the school year is quickly approaching. And morning commuters will, once again, be tempted to pass school busses in their morning race to get to work. In Illinois, the law for Approaching, Overtaking, and Passing a School Bus is included in the Illinois Vehicle Code under 625 ILCS 5/11-1414. The law requires a driver to stop before meeting or overtaking a school bus stopped for the purpose of loading or unloading students. The stop is required if the school bus is displaying visual signals and the driver should not proceed until the visuals signals cease, the school bus resumes motion, or the school bus driver signals the vehicle to proceed. A limited exception to this rule applies on 4 or more lane highways that have a least 2 lanes of traffic in opposite directions. On these roads, a driver need not stop if the driver is traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus. If a driver is traveling in the same direction as the school bus, the driver still must stop. The Illinois Secretary of State will suspend the driver’s license of anyone convicted of the violating this law for a period of three months. In addition, the court will impose a minimum $150 fine for a first offense. A second or subsequent conviction of this offense within five years of the first conviction will result in a one-year driver’s license suspension and a minimum mandatory $500 fine.
A traffic ticket for improperly passing a stopped school bus is serious not only because a conviction will trigger a fine and the automatic suspension of a driver’s license, but also because judges are not permitted to grant court supervision for this violation. Most Illinois moving violations allow judges to consider granting court supervision. A ticket for improper passing of a stopped school bus does not. Supervision is a sentence in which the court defers judgment until a later date. During this period of time, if the defendant does not violate the law and complies with all the terms and conditions of the supervision sentence, then the charge will be dismissed. Although supervision will appear on the defendant’s driving record, it is not a conviction. Since it is not a conviction, it does not affect insurance rates nor does it affect driving privileges. A conviction, unlike a sentence of court supervision, causes the Secretary of State to impose points to a licensed motorist’s driving record.
This means that if a driver pleads guilty to this violation, or if they are found guilty after a trial, the court will have no option but to enter a conviction, and that conviction will require the driver to pay a fine and face the suspension of their driver’s license. A conviction for improperly passing a stopped school bus is required by law to be reported by the clerk of the court to the Illinois Secretary of State. Once the Secretary of State processes this information, it mails a “Notice of Suspension” to the address on file. Aware of the punishment they could be forced to impose, judges frequently advise defendants charged with the violation of improper passing of a stopped school bus to consult legal counsel before taking any substantive action on their cases.
Sami is experienced at defending criminal and traffic matters. For assistance with a traffic violation or criminal matter, contact Sami at (312) 626-2871.