Opinion

House of Representatives

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Because of COVID-19, school will look different this year, and so will transportation. The Arkansas Department of Education’s transportation directors are taking the utmost measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on buses. These measures include regularly disinfecting the buses and implementing requirements for students to wear masks and socially distance while riding the bus.

But there are other actions we can all take this school year to help ensure the safety of our students.

“Flashing Red, Kids Ahead” is an effort led by the Arkansas Department of Education to remind people to be mindful of student safety when approaching school buses.

The purpose of safety campaign is to remind educators, parents, school bus drivers, and community leaders to obey all traffic laws whenever they are near a school bus. It is illegal to pass a stopped school bus whenever its red lights are flashing, as students are present.

The law requires drivers to stop on 2-lane and 4-lane highways in both directions, even those with a middle lane. Drivers cannot attempt to pass in any direction until the school bus vehicle has finished receiving or discharging its passengers and is in motion again.

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.

In the 2019 Regular Session, the legislature increased the fines in Isaac’s Law again with Act 166. Drivers can now face up to a $2,500 fine or up to 90 days in jail.

Let’s all do our part to ensure students arrive to and from school safely. Remember: Flashing Red. Kids Ahead.