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— Over the next few days, school will begin throughout the state and the Arkansas Department of Education estimates that more than 6,000 school buses will begin sharing the roadways with motorists - meaning school bus safety will again be a priority. To encourage all drivers to obey traffic laws, especially around school buses, the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Association of Pupil Transportation, and Arkansas School Bus Mechanics Association are launching the 7th Annual “Flashing Red. Kids Ahead” school bus safety campaign.

This one-month campaign reminds drivers that it is illegal to pass stopped school buses when their red lights are flashing, as students are getting on and off the bus.

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.

“Each day approximately 350,000 Arkansas students ride school buses,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “Student safety on and off the bus does not stop with bus drivers; every motorist has a responsibility. The number of instances of Arkansas motorists illegally passing school buses in one day is alarming. In addition to increased penalties passed by the legislature this past session, educational campaigns are essential to combating this problem.

Through the Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. campaign, the Department of Education and other partners are making great strides to increase awareness. “Each of us has a part to do to ensure each and every child arrives to and from school safely each day,” a news release states

This year’s Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. campaign includes sample press releases, handouts, brochures, and safety tips that districts and the general public can tailor for their own Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. campaign.

ADE will post video testimonials and graphics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube throughout August.

The department encourages schools and students to also post videos and pictures that promote school bus safety on social media using #2019FlashingRed.

To learn more about the campaign, visit www.flashingredkidsahead.org.

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