LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The state Department of Education on Monday launched a school bus safety public awareness campaign.
“Flashing Red. Kids Ahead.” is the theme for the three-week effort. Officials said that educators, parents, school bus drivers and community leaders throughout Arkansas will be using the three weeks as an opportunity to remind motorists to obey all traffic laws whenever they are near a school bus.
The effort will also seek to remind drivers that it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when its red lights are flashing and students are loading or unloading.
“This effort reminds motorists that they play an important role in keeping our students safe,” Arkansas Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell said. “As drivers, we have a responsibility to students everywhere to know and obey all traffic laws, especially when we are near a school bus.”
In Arkansas, nearly 7,000 school buses transport over a quarter of a million students to and from school and school-related activities each school day.
The fines, penalties and punishment for anyone found guilty of illegally passing a stopped school bus were dramatically increased by Arkansas Act 2128 of 2005, also known as Isaac’s Law. The legislation was named for Isaac Brian, an elementary school student in the Bryant School District, who was struck and killed when a driver illegally passed his school bus while students were unloading.
“This campaign also serves as an excellent time to remind students and parents about the simple safety measures they can take while going to and from the bus stop, getting on and off the bus, and riding the bus. It also gives us a chance to thank Arkansas school bus drivers for their professionalism, dedication and hard work,” Kimbrell said.
Campaign materials, which include a sample news release, sample letter, flier and safety tips for parents, are available on the Arkansas Department of Education website here.
The campaign will conclude Aug. 30.