LITTLE ROCK, August 16, 2013 – School bus safety is the focus of a special statewide public awareness effort that will start Monday, August 12. Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. is the theme for the three-week effort, being led by the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE).
Educators, parents, school bus drivers and community leaders throughout the Natural State will be using the three weeks as an opportunity to remind Arkansas motorists to obey all traffic laws whenever they are near a school bus. This special effort will also seek to remind drivers that it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus whenever its red lights are flashing and students are loading or unloading the bus. The campaign will conclude Friday, August 30, 2013. “Our schools are set to begin the new school year in just a few days. This effort reminds motorists that they play an important role in keeping our students safe,” said Arkansas Education Commissioner Dr. Tom Kimbrell. “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, a fleet of 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,” said Dr. Kimbrell.
Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. materials, which include a sample news release, sample letter, flier, and safety tips for parents, are available on the Arkansas Department of Education website. The address is http://www.arkansased.org/divisions/communications/pressroom