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Back to School Safety Tips for Drivers

The start of a new school year means an increase in traffic, both pedestrian and vehicles.  District 100 and the Belvidere Police Department want to remind motorists to pay attention so that you know when the rules apply.

Any time you pass by a school, keep an eye out for signs that indicate you are entering a school zone. In Illinois, the school zone speed limit is always 20 miles per hour when school is in session and children are present. School zone hours are usually 7 am to 4 pm, but if all the kids are inside, then you may continue going the posted speed limit. However, if you see a child outside the school building, Illinois law states that you must slow down to 20 miles per hour.

All school zones are no passing zones. Also, when you are approaching a school crossing area, please remember that any children or adults in the crosswalk area have right-of-way.  What happens if you get a school zone ticket? If it's your first offense, you'll pay $150. If it's your second offense, you'll face a fine of $300.

Use of cell phones while traveling in a school zone is illegal and carries a fine of $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense, $125 for a third offense, and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense.  Crashes caused by distracted driving can result in hefty fines and criminal charges if serious injury or a fatality occurs.

Motorists also need to be on the lookout for slowing and stopped school buses.  When approaching a stopped school bus with lights activated and sign extended, motorists must stop their vehicle before reaching the school bus.  Failure to do so can result in a $150 fine and the suspension of your driver’s license for three months. $500 for a second violation.

The Belvidere School District and the Belvidere Police Department ask that families and motorists make back-to-school safety a priority to ensure a safe and successful start to the new school year.