PHOENIX — Washington Elementary School District No. 6 Special Education Transportation Supervisor Antonio "Tony" Mlynek recently spearheaded a public service campaign to educate drivers on Arizona law regarding stopping for school buses.
The campaign, "For Children's Sake, Stop for School Buses," includes both television and print messages that instruct drivers to slow down when they see a flashing yellow light on a school bus and come to a complete stop when the red lights flash and a stop arm is deployed.
In Arizona, only motorists driving in the opposite direction with a physical barrier, such as a curbed median separating the other side of the road, do not have to stop.
The PSAs were produced by American Traffic Solutions (ATS), a Scottsdale-based company. Sherri Teille, vice president of marketing, oversaw the project.
ATS donated its time and resources to create the PSAs, which will be distributed to Arizona media and other organizations to educate the public.
Mlynek's advocacy efforts were spurred by a voluntary statewide survey conducted during the spring of 2011. Seventeen school districts in Arizona chose one day to have drivers record and report any instances of motorists illegally passing their school buses. Drivers reported 1,450 violations among 934 buses that participated.
Drivers also indicated that 59 percent of the violations occurred by vehicles traveling in the opposing direction, and 26 percent of the violators were traveling in the same direction as the bus. The other 15 percent were violations that occurred in both directions at a bus stop location.
The campaign is the very first PSA developed to address stop-arm violations in Arizona, according to Mlynek.