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Lincoln Daily News
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note: When LDN received this letter to the editor, we
thought it serious enough that we called Chief of Police
Robert Rawlins. Many disputes are resolved when the parties
speak directly to each other.
Chief Rawlins called the author
of this letter, gathered more information and has personally
looked into this matter. We have included Chief Rawlins'
LDN is publishing this letter
today to bring awareness to you because it is an issue that
plagues communities across the nation. Maybe you can be a part
of helping curb this problem locally by collecting information
if you are a witness to it.
I am writing this letter to address an
issue that is continuously becoming worse. All over Lincoln we have
several buses dropping our children off at different times of the
day. I have seen on several occasions where cars are just driving by
these buses with their lights on and safety bars extended.
As a parent I notified the Lincoln
Police Department and was told that it was the bus company's problem
and not mine.
After speaking to the bus drivers,
they said that they have turned in many offenders to the police with
all the information, and the police continue to do nothing. It is
now getting to the point where drivers are waving signs saying, "No
As a parent I am to trust that the
bus company will do everything possible for the safety of my
children. When the citizens of Lincoln decide to break a "Rule of
the Road," … putting my and other children at risk, I find it
appalling that the Lincoln Police Department refuse to do
[something] … about this situation. With a newly elected chief of
police in office, it would be nice to see action taken on all
matters instead of what your police feel like doing that day.
(Posted Nov. 5, 2004)
[to top of second
Response from Chief Rawlins
REF: School bus passing
Please find attached [click
here] a copy of the Illinois law titled "Approaching,
overtaking, and passing school bus," Section 625 5/11-1414. Also
attached is Illinois law titled "Stop signal arm," Section 625
5/12-803, and Illinois law titled "Special lighting equipment,"
Section 625 5/12-805. Sections 12-803 and 12-805 state what the
school bus must have for equipment to satisfy law 11-1414.
I have reviewed reports filed with
the Lincoln Police Department since the beginning of the year (2004)
for violations on school bus passing. We have documented seven
reports. Of the seven reports, two drivers were issued citations for
violating Section 625 5/11-1414. Three drivers had not been located
due to some misinformation. The license plate number given to the
reporting officer at the time of the report was not a valid license
plate. Two reports were sent to the state's attorney for his review
on the incident.
Most of our reports about school bus
passing come from the bus drivers. A report from someone else other
than the bus driver can be made if they view the violation of this
A lot of times the bus driver is
busy assisting with passengers and does not see the violation or
cannot get the needed information. If someone other than the bus
driver reports the incident, the bus driver will be contacted to see
if they can add anything to the report.
The Lincoln Police Department needs
a valid license plate from the vehicle in order to track down a
suspected violator; this is a very important item. Without the
license plate number, there is usually no way to track the violator
down. If the reporting person can give a description of the driver,
along with a make, model and color of the vehicle, this is a plus.
If the reporting officer is given
this important information, they will track the violator down and a
citation will be issued to them.
When the Lincoln Police Department
is advised of this violation and the reporting person does not want
to get involved, the Lincoln Police Department will send a squad car
to the reported location during the reported times of the bus pickup
or drop-off and will monitor and take action when needed.
To violate this law, certain things
must be in place. The bus has to be stopped at the time, for the
purpose of loading or unloading of pupils. The stop signal arm must
be out and the alternate flashing red signal lamps must be on. If
these are present and a driver of a vehicle passes the school bus,
at this point the driver is in violation of the law.
The penalty for violating Section
625 5/11-1414 states that the secretary of state shall suspend for a
period of three months the driving privileges of any person
convicted of the violation. The mandatory fine is $150 for the first
The Lincoln Police Department will
actively enforce this law to help protect the safety of our children
in the community.
Chief of Police
Lincoln Police Department
(Posted Nov. 5, 2004)
here for the Illinois laws referred to in this letter.]