During the start of the school year the Illinois State Board of
Education will be encouraging schools to reach out to local police
agencies to emphasize traffic safety in school zones, and the
Illinois Department of Transportation will be flashing messages on
its changeable message boards to remind drivers that school is back
Last year, nearly 100 children between the age of 5
and 18 were killed and nearly 12,000, mostly within the same age
range, were injured in crashes in which they were either passengers,
a pedestrian or on a bike.
"I'm urging superintendents and principals to reach out to their
local police agencies and ask them to stress traffic safety in
school zones during the start of classes," said state Superintendent
of Education Christopher A. Koch. "The start of the school year
means that drivers will need to pay attention and look for school
buses and watch for students, especially in the morning and
afternoon, in and around school zones. Our students will be walking
and riding their bikes to school, so we're asking motorists to
please, give them a brake."
The Labor Day weekend marks the traditional end of summer and
start of the school year throughout Illinois. During the weeks
surrounding the Labor Day holiday weekend, the Illinois Department
of Transportation has agreed to display the message "Kids are Back
in School, Give 'em a Brake," reminding motorists that school is
beginning. IDOT has 55 changeable message signs throughout the
"Kids are changing their routines and drivers will need to change
theirs as school starts throughout the state. They'll need to slow
down in school speed zones and stop when they see a bus with its
lights flashing and arm extended," said Acting IDOT Secretary Milt
Sees. "It only takes a split second for a tragedy to occur. We want
drivers to remember more kids are going to be out on the streets,
especially in the morning and afternoons. Please, look out for
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Last year 96 children between the ages of 5 and 18 were killed in
automobile crashes, an increase of three from 2006. In 2007, 11,681
children in this age group were injured in crashes, a decrease of
638 from 2006. In 2007, four people were killed and 604 injured in
2,297 crashes involving school buses, compared with two people
killed and 539 injured in 2,069 crashes the year before.
Tips for back-to-school driving
The speed limit in
a school zone is 20 mph on school days between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
when children are present and signs are posted.
A school zone is a
A driver must
yield the right of way when a pedestrian is in a marked or
unmarked crosswalk on the driver's side of the roadway and there
are no traffic control signals.
A driver must
yield the right of way when a person is walking with a green
light or entered a crosswalk before the traffic signal changed.
Drivers must stop
before passing a school bus when it is loading or unloading
passengers and must remain stopped while the signal arm is
extended and lights are flashing.
It is not
necessary for drivers to stop when traveling in the opposite
direction of a stopped school bus on a roadway with four or more
lanes. However, drivers should still be cautious.
State Board of Education
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]