The Illinois legislature is looking to allow the use of an extended stop-arm on school buses and join over a dozen other states that have approved the equipment, if Gov. J.B Pritzker signs the bill into law.
The bipartisan SB2340 was introduced in February and would amend the Illinois Vehicle Code. The bill synopsis as introduced states, “[A] school bus must be equipped with an extended stop-arm that partially obstructs the roadway if the school bus has a route that includes a bus stop which requires a school child to cross a roadway.”
The bill was then amended in committee. It now reads that a school bus may be equipped with an extension to the required stop arm. The bill adds that school districts have the option to add a maximum of two extensions to the required stop arms on the driver’s side of the school bus.
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The extended stop arms would need to be equipped with additional flashing red lights and be capable of extending across a lane of traffic by up to 72 inches, measured from the side of the bus to the furthest part of the arm, at a height of no less than 36 inches from the ground. Additionally, a rear extension arm would be required to meet the same specification as the side extension. However, it could not extend more than 32 inches from the side of a school bus.
The bill adds that any driver who comes into contact with any portion of a stopped school bus, including the extended stop arm, or makes contact with a school child within 30 feet of the bus would be subject to a three-month suspension of driving privileges.