During any given day in the school year, there are 350,000 children riding a bus on Arkansas roadways.
This week, legislators joined the Governor, Education Secretary Johnny Key, and state police in reminding drivers that Flashing Red means Kids Ahead.
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 land 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.
But yet Arkansans violate this law routinely. In fact, back in April, Arkansas school bus drivers reported 884 instances of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses in one day. Twelve of those instances occurred on the right side of the bus, where students enter and leave the bus.
The penalties and punishment for anyone found guilty of illegally passing a stopped school bus were increased dramatically by Act 2128 of 2005, also known as Isaac’s Law. The legislation was named in honor of 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 exiting the vehicle. The legislature increased the fines in Isaac’s Law again this year with Act 166. Drivers can now face up to a $2,500 fine or up to 90 days in jail.
Isaac’s father, William Brian, spoke at the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, “I’m encouraging you to take your responsibility as a driver seriously. I’m asking you to eliminate distractions and have a heightened sense of awareness anytime you see flashing red lights.”
Everyone has a responsibility to ensure students arrive to and from school safely. Remember: Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. To learn more about the campaign, visit www.flashingredkidsahead.org.