School bus safety: A look into Illinois laws - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

School bus safety: A look into Illinois laws

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WSIL -- For the fifth time in three days, a driver has hit a child while at a bus stop. Thursday alone, seven people, two adults and five children, were rushed to the hospital after a car struck pedestrians at a school bus stop in Tampa, police said.

Since the first accident that killed three siblings on Tuesday in Rochester Indiana, two others have died. One in Baldwyn, Mississippi and another in Franklin Township, Pennsylvania. 

Signs warning drivers of school bus stops up are found along multiple rural roads in southern Illinois. 

Besides the yellow signs, parents and law enforcement are asking you to pay attention for buses. 

Erin Hale and her husband walk their two kids to the bus stop in Herrin before and after school. 

"My husband or I are always with our kids, so I don't worry about my kids in particular, but I do worry in the mornings about the kids that aren't standing there with their parents," Erin said, "I know I can hold on to my kids and they are going to listen to me."

Mother's like Erin say they can't fathom getting a phone call like those families this week who had child involved in a bus stop accident did. 

"Everybody's capable of looking down at your phone just because your alarm goes off for something," Erin said, "I cannot even imagine what the person in the car and those families felt."

Williamson County Deputy Sheriff Brian Murrah says in Illinois you MUST stop for a bus with flashing red lights. 

"Once the lights are on and the stop arm is out, you have to yield to that bus," Murrah said, "You can't go around the bus on either side."

If you do pass a bus in Illinois, you will lose your license. 

"Conviction of passing a bus is an automatic suspension of a person's license," Murrah said. "It doesn't matter who, what, when, where or why, if you're convicted of passing a bus, you loose your license for three months."

Even in quiet neighborhoods like Herrin, Erin has seen drivers ignore the lights on the bus.

"The bus was putting on their brakes but hadn't had a chance to put their sign out yet and a person coming from the other direction raced by," Erin said. 

Murrah says the best advice is to pay attention at all times while driving. 

"The point we are trying to make is it's a great big yellow vehicle, it's too big to overlook," Murrah said. "It's covered in flashing lights and even has flashing lights on the side. There is no excuse not to see a bus."

While some school districts in Williamson County have cameras, not all can afford it. 

Murrah says if you see a driver go around a stopped school bus with its lights on, take down the license plate number to report it to police. 

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