Orland Park Police Department Promotes October Safety Initiatives

Orland Park Police Department Promotes October Safety Initiatives
Posted on 10/05/2017

Throughout the month of October, Orland Park police will be out in the community to ensure drivers and pedestrians safely follow traffic-safety laws.

OPPD will be out three separate times to conduct its second "Cop on a Bus" awareness campaign. Patrol officers will ride along on Orland Park school buses watching for vehicles passing school buses when the stop arms are out and the stop lights are flashing. When the officer spots a violation, he or she will report it to a partner working the area who will then initiate a traffic stop.

"Orland Park Police conduct the 'Cop on a Bus' campaign as a way to ensure that all drivers are properly stopping for school buses that are either loading or unloading school children," Trustee Dan Calandriello said, head of the village's Public Safety Committee. "Often drivers are distracted or in a hurry, but we want everyone to take the extra time to follow protocol and keep school zones safe." 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, who are getting on or off the bus. These children are hit by the school bus or by motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus. "Officers will be issuing citations to drivers who do not stop when a school bus has its stop arm out. This is a crucial safety law that everyone must follow," said Police Chief Tim McCarthy.

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.

School bus drivers may call police with the license plate numbers 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.

As residents prepare for Halloween, OPPD will conduct numerous pedestrian crosswalk safety checks at various crosswalks within the village, including Ravinia Avenue by the Orland Park Public Library, on 151st St. by Lakeview Plaza, and by Catalina Drive. OPPD reminds drivers that they must come to a complete stop and yield when a pedestrian is in the marked crosswalk.

"Under the state law, a crosswalk is present whenever a sidewalk leads into the street, regardless of any markings present," Calandriello said. "As soon a pedestrian has entered the crosswalk, drivers are required to stop, not just slow down. It's important for drivers to cautiously look out for pedestrians.

McCarthy added, "The goal of these checks is to ensure that pedestrians are kept safe while walking in the village, and that drivers are well aware of - and follow - the state's traffic-safety laws."