A E T N Logo
Support The Programs You Love DONATE NOW

Back-to-School Bus Safety for Drivers

Posted on 09 Aug 2013


Arkansas Department of Education

The days are getting shorter, the smell of fresh crayons permeates trips to the store and, somehow, it's time to start thinking about school! But that doesn't just apply to kiddos and parents. Did you know that it is illegal to pass a stopped school bus when its red lights are flashing? As school buses fill the roads, it's incredibly important that all motorists help keep children safe.

So, as a driver, what can you do to make life safer for the kids around you?

To start with, pack a little extra time into your estimated morning drive. 

Starting Monday, Aug. 19, school routes and school buses will return and, if your luck is like ours, they'll be slowing your commute down. (Believe us, we're heaving some heavy sighs as we hide the snooze buttons on our alarms, too.) Whether you have to navigate around school zones and closed streets or you happen to catch a rural school bus on its route for a stretch of highway, delays will most likely happen. Be ready for them.

The next step? Be patient. (This also isn't at the top of our "things-we-enjoy-doing list," but it matters.)

It's the beginning of the year, and whether kids are coming to school for the first time or just shaking off the summer, rules and new routines are probably still a little fuzzy. You may encounter a little Flash Gordon speeding down the driveway to the waiting bus he's almost missed or a dawdling preschooler who's still reluctant to leave mom and dad behind for the big yellow twinkle of transportation. When the red lights on a bus are flashing, practice your breathing techniques and wait. We're the adults and the individuals behind several tons of steel and force, so we're going to have to cultivate our patience. Someone did it for us once, after all!

 Also, be aware. 

Kids drop stuff, drawstrings on bags get caught in doors, and those fun and games at the bus stop can encroach on the street. Lots of little things can place our favorite munchkins in places they logically shouldn't be … or should have moved out of already. Children are unpredictable animals, so err on the side of caution - give the bus and its riders extra time and space, whether kiddos should still be in the vicinity or not.

Finally, violations of school bus safety laws carry hefty punishments.

In 2004, Isaac Bryan, an elementary school student in the Bryant School District, was killed by a driver who illegally passed a stopped school bus while it was unloading. To discourage similar negligence in the future, the Arkansas legislature passed Isaac's Law (Act 2128 of 2005), which has dramatically increased fines, penalties and punishment for passing a stopped school bus. Should a worst case scenario occur, you could kill a child and be charged with criminal negligence - not manslaughter.

We hate to end a blog post on such a negative note, but it's a fact worth considering. A few minutes of waiting in the morning are certainly not worth the safety of our smallest pedestrians or our freedoms. As you look forward to fall and prepare for next week, please take a little extra time to consider the students of Arkansas and get ready to build up your time management skills and patience!

 

LEARN MORE:

Arkansas Department of Education "Flashing Red. Kids Ahead." Campaign  

AETN ENGAGE BLOG

Arkansas and the American Dream
We’re all familiar with the American Dream — the idea that anyone in the United States can climb the economic ladder of opportunity — but is it still achievable? AETN continues to address poverty in the state with “A Deeper Look: The American Dream in Arkansas” and to survey the national landscape with “Dream On.” Learn more about these projects and a special night of programming after the jump.

CONTINUE READING

Volunteers Like You
You can have fun, help others and support causes and organizations by sharing a bit of your spare time and volunteering! Learn how you (or your group) can help others — and yourself — by working with AETN Foundation.

CONTINUE READING

Parents, PJs and Pies
Wear your PJs and join us for a fun-filled family event as we and our partners at Dropping Back in and Healthy Families of Faulkner and Conway Counties share education resources on Saturday, Aug. 20, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.! “Parents, PJs and Pies” will feature a BBQ lunch, giveaways, fun activities and special “Llama Llama Red Pajama” gift bags.

CONTINUE READING

“Back Road Barns” - Viewer Photos
Coming to AETN on Thursday, Aug. 25, “Back Road Barns” travels through rural Arkansas on a visual road trip to classic barns that have long been a part of our culture. See a preview of what you have to look forward to by scrolling through viewer photo submissions for a special segment of the AETN original film.

CONTINUE READING

Save the Date for AETN Family Day
Travel back in time to the 1960s when AETN first came on the airwaves at Family Day 2016: Peace, Love and AETN! We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary with screenings of episodes of classic programs from the AETN Video Vault, opportunities to meet your favorite PBS KIDS characters and sneak peeks of what to expect next on Saturday, Sept. 24.

CONTINUE READING
MORE POSTS ]