LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Ahead of a new school year, bus drivers in the Pulaski County Special School District have been out on dry runs — driving their routes and checking for any issues. They say it's all about keeping students safe, and they're hopeful an updated law will keep them even safer.
"Man, safety is always gonna be the number one thing. Safety, safety safety," Charles Anderson, operations specialist over the school district's training department, said.
Anderson not only wants people to stop for school buses, he wants to remind them it's the law.
"First of all, to the stop signs — s-t-o-p — stop instead of just yield, or instead of just proceeding and running through a stop sign," he said. "A child's life is can be in danger."
Here are the rules of the road when the stop sign is deployed and red lights are flashing:
- If you're on a 2-lane road with no grassy median – both directions of traffic must stop.
- The same rules apply on highways that have a center turn lane and those without a median.
- One of the few times vehicles traveling in the opposite direction of a school bus do not have to stop for the bright, flashing lights is when there is a median twenty feet or more in width.
State law now specifies drivers must stop at least 30 feet away from a bus that is loading or unloading passengers.
Failure to follow the law could come with a fine between $250 and $1,000, 90 days in jail, or both.
Anderson has a clear message for people as the school year begins.
"Leave early," he said. "If you need to get to school, if you need to work, give yourself time, especially if you know there's bus stops on your route."
Click here to learn more about the Arkansas Department of Education's "Flashing Red, Kids Ahead" campaign.