HOPE – The big, yellow school buses from the Hope Public School District will begin to ferry students to and from schools Aug. 13, and the first day of school should bring renewed caution to local motorists.
“Parents and drivers should remember that ‘Flashing Red, Kids Ahead’ means school buses are on the road,” HPSD Transportation Director Maurice Henry said.
The Arkansas Department of Education, in conjunction with the Arkansas Association of Pupil Transportation and the Arkansas Parent-Teacher Association, have co-sponsored the statewide “Flashing Red, Kids Ahead” initiative for the past two years.
Arkansas school bus safety laws are based in Act 2128 of 2005, which is known as Isaac’s Law, and provides for increased fines, penalties and punishments for anyone found guilty of illegally passing a stopped school bus, according to the Arkansas Department of Education.
“There was a survey done back in April that showed on one day there were 894 illegal passes of buses by drivers,” Henry said.
School buses are equipped with automatic safety arms which deploy each time a bus comes to a complete stop; and, red “Stop” signs with red flashing signal lights embedded. Prior to stopping, the yellow “caution” lights on each bus will light to warn motorists that the bus will stop, and traffic approaching from either direction should begin to slow to a complete stop for loading or off-loading of children.
Once the “caution” light activates, the bus will, typically, come to a full stop within 300 feet.
The Hope Public School District operated buses across some 2,100 miles of bus routes daily in 2018-2019, according to Henry.
Bus drivers are directed to have children remain inside the bus until all front and rear approaching traffic has stopped. Motorists are also reminded that they may not resume travel until the bus retracts both its safety arm and flashing “Stop” signal; and, drivers are instructed to remain stopped until all children have either boarded or exited the bus and cleared traffic lanes.
Additional information from the “Flashing Red, Kids Ahead” state safety campaign is available at http://bit.ly/FlashingRedKidsAhead online.
Information concerning bus pickup and delivery of students should be obtained from individual campus offices, Henry said. Other questions regarding student transportation may be directed to his office at 722-2700, extension 35.