Bus Safety & Watching for Motorcycles Named OPPD's May Traffic Safety Initiatives

Bus Safety & Watching for Motorcycles Named OPPD's May Traffic Safety Initiatives
Posted on 05/14/2018

The Orland Park Police Department has announced two public safety initiatives for the month of May --- school bus safety and watching for motorcycles.

"The police department's two public safety initiatives this month are very important for drivers of all ages," said Trustee Pat Gira, chair of the village's Public Safety Committee. "Now that the weather is nice, kids are excited to get home to play after school and may not be watching for cars. And, motorcycle riders and drivers have to look twice and be aware of each other."

The "Cop On A Bus" campaign brings enforcement to residential areas with patrol officers looking for vehicles that pass school buses when the stop arm is out and the stop lights are flashing. When the officer spots a violation, he or she will radio it to another officer following discreetly behind the bus and a traffic stop will be initiated.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, children are at the greatest risk when they are getting on or off the school bus. Most children killed in bus-related crashes are pedestrians, five to seven years old, getting on or off the bus. These children are hit by the school bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus.

"When the stop arm on a school bus is extended, you must stop," said Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy. "And, we all know that motorcycle season has arrived. Look twice and be aware of motorcycles around you."

According to the Illinois State Police, it is unlawful for a driver to pass a school bus that has stopped to load or unload children when its stop signal arm is extended. The driver is required to stop his or her vehicle before passing the school bus from either direction. An exception is when the driver is on a highway with four or more lanes with at least two lanes of traffic in either direction. If the driver is going in the opposite direction of the bus, they do not have to stop.

Illinois law provides that the driving privileges of a person convicted of passing a stopped school bus will be suspended for three months for the first offense and one year for the second, if the second conviction occurs within five years. Additionally, the fine for a first conviction is $150 and $500 for a second or subsequent conviction.

School bus drivers may call police with the license plate number of vehicles that illegally pass them. In those instances, state statute provides that the owner is responsible for identifying the operator of the vehicle if they were not the driver when the violation occurred. Otherwise, the owner faces the charges.

The Orland Park Police Department's second May campaign is "Look Twice --- Save a Life" promoting motorcycle awareness. Drivers of all ages are reminded to be aware of and watch for motorcycles especially during the warmer months.

Motorcycle operators are reminded to be vigilant watching for other vehicles on the road, paying close attention at intersections and sharing the road with vehicles.