A one day survey conducted last year among Arkansas school bus drivers showed some startling results. The survey asked bus drivers from 100 school districts to record the amount of times they saw a motorist illegally passing their bus. They counted more than 700 instances.
If this was just one day, with fewer than half of school districts reporting, imagine how many times this occurs throughout the school year.
This year, more than 7,000 buses will transport approximately 350,000 Arkansas students to and from school.
To promote school bus safety, the Arkansas Department of Education and Arkansas Association of Pupil Transportation launched the fifth annual Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. school bus safety campaign.
While the three-week campaign began this week and concludes Aug. 25, school bus safety is important year-round.
When the yellow lights are flashing, the bus will stop within 300 feet. When approaching the bus from the opposite direction, slow your vehicle to 20 mph or less.
Flashing red lights and stop sign out means kids are getting on or off the bus. Stop your vehicle at least 15 feet from the bus. Remain stopped until the flashing red lights end and the stop arm goes in.
After Bryant elementary student Isaac Brian was killed in 2004, the legislature passed Isaac’s Law the following year. Any motorist who illegally passes a school bus is guilty of a misdemeanor. If convicted, you can go to jail for 90 days, have your driver’s license suspended for a year, be assigned up to 400 hours of community service, and pay a fine of up to $1,000.
Drivers who kill a student could be found guilty of negligent homicide, a class C felony.
The Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. campaign provides resources, including bus safety videos, a copy of Isaac’s Law, safety tips for parents and fliers, as well as media outreach resources for districts to use. To access the resources, visit the Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. webpage at www.arkansased.gov.
ADE encourages students and schools to get involved in the campaign by sharing videos and pictures of why school bus safety is important. Videos and pictures can be posted to social media using #2017FlashingRed.
Remember: Flashing Red. Kids Ahead.