SPRINGDALE (KFSM) – School begins next week across Arkansas, meaning police will once again be looking for drivers who fail to yield to stopped buses.
Students with Springdale Public Schools will be back in classrooms on Monday.
Springdale schools will have buses back on the streets next week, and officials want drivers to remember the slogan “stop on red, kids are ahead.”
“Lots of motorists on the road haven`t seen a bus all summer,” said Dana Samples, Transportation Director for Springdale Public Schools. “Well, there is going to be a lot of buses on the road starting Monday.”
School district administrators across the state are joining efforts with others to remind drivers of the potential dangers during the school year.
“Stop on red, kids are ahead,” Samples said. “When you see red lights flashing, you need to stop. Whether you see children, or not.”
According to police, failing to stop while a bus is loading, or unloading, is a misdemeanor offense.
But, that doesn’t stop many on the road from breaking the law anyway.
One estimate from education officials last year said 1,700 drivers in one day illegally passed school buses in Arkansas.
“When the police are out, and they see that, they will pull them over, stop them, and give them a ticket for it,” said Tim Day, Transportation Safety Coordinator with Springdale Public Schools.
When police aren’t around, bus drivers are asked to report the color and license plate number of the car.
Police can then locate them.
“In Springdale, we report about 70 incidents a year,” Samples said.
Springdale school officials say that most violations occur with oncoming traffic failing to stop, making the bus stop the most dangerous location for a child during a school day.
“This is the most critical and most dangerous, time of the day for a school aged child,” Samples said.
Officials say drivers need to be alert now that summer is ending.
“They have to have their guard up again,” Day said.
Officials at Springdale Public Schools say yellow lights will always warn drivers that a bus is stopping.
Once the red lights, and sign, are flashing, drivers going both directions must stop and give the buses plenty of room.
According to the Fayetteville Police Department, the only time oncoming traffic does not have to stop is when a bus is stopped on a divided highway.
They say that rarely ever is the case.