TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas State Department of Education has launched “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead,” a new campaign that aims to raise awareness about illegal bus passing, and received a donation of materials from a local school bus manufacturer.
As Kansas schools gear up for the 2019-20 school year, the Department of Education is conducting outreach to remind motorists that they must stop when approaching a stopped school bus from either direction when its flashing red lights are on and its stop arm is extended. Motorists are required to remain stopped until the bus is no longer displaying its flashing red lights and stop arm. Violation of the law is punishable by a fine and court costs in excess of $420, according to a news release from the Department of Education.
The campaign includes news releases, social media reminders, posters for schools, safety flyers, and informational handouts, as well as 10,000 bumper stickers donated by Collins Bus Corp., a subsidiary of REV Group.
The delivery of the “Stop on Red, Kids Ahead”-themed bumper stickers was held at a press event on Thursday, Chris Charlton, brand manager for the school bus manufacturer, told School Bus Fleet.
“We are honored to help out with this program to get the word out on stop-arm violations,” Chris Hiebert, vice president/general manager of Collins Bus, said at the event. “Hopefully this helps to keep the kids even safer while riding the bus.”
Keith Dreiling, the director of the Department of Education’s School Bus Safety Unit, also attended the event. He thanked Collins Bus for the bumper sticker donation to support the campaign and emphasized its importance.
“On a one-day survey in 2018 and 2019, we estimated there are in excess of 1,000 violations every day just in Kansas,” Dreiling added.
Illegal passing of school buses is reportedly on the rise in the state, according to data collected by the Department of Education. On April 17, Kansas bus drivers reported 1,040 stop-arm violations as part of the annual Kansas one day stop-arm violation count, which is part of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services' annual survey. A total of 220 districts and 3,300 buses participated in this year’s count. In April 2018, 214 districts and 3,347 buses participated and reported 1,030 violations. There were 691 violations reported by 188 districts (2,527 buses) in April 2017.
“School bus safety should be a top priority year-round,” Dreiling said in a news release about the campaign. “It is the responsibility of everyone to make sure Kansas students remain safe. School buses remain very safe, but we know that student passengers are most vulnerable when they are outside the bus, so please obey the stop arm law.”