LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — With school starting soon, Arkansas is promoting the need for motorists to stop for school buses.
The Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Association of Pupil Transportation, and the Arkansas School Bus Mechanics Association teamed up to launch the sixth annual “Flashing Red. Kids Ahead” school bus safety campaign.
In past years, the safety initiative has been a three-week campaign. This year, it has been expanded to last the entire month of August.
“When you see the flashing red lights on a stopped school bus, that means children are crossing the street, and state law requires drivers to stop,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “We owe our children a future, and one of the most basic contributions to their future is to ensure that they get to school and back home safely. ‘Flashing Red. Kids Ahead.’ Easy to say. Vital to remember."
In the 2018-19 school year, some 350,000 students in Arkansas will board one of about 7,000 school buses.
“School bus safety is important throughout the entire year,” said Jerry Owens, senior transportation manager at the Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation. “It is important for all motorists to know that it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when its red lights are flashing.”
In a one-day survey conducted in April, about 3,200 Arkansas school bus drivers reported more than 850 instances of motorists illegally passing their buses.
This year’s “Flashing Red. Kids Ahead” campaign will feature such materials as sample press releases that school districts can use to tailor the program for their area, handouts and brochures with safety tips for parents, videos, and a link to the law on school bus safety.
Arkansas residents are also encouraged to take part in the campaign by posting videos and pictures that promote school bus safety on social media using the hashtag #2018FlashingRed. To learn more about the campaign, go here.