More than 6,000 school buses will begin sharing the roadways with motorists, meaning school bus safety will again be a priority, according to a news release.


The seventh annual Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. school bus safety campaign is being launched to encourage all drivers to obey traffic laws, especially around school buses.


The campaign sponsors include the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Association of Pupil Transportation and Arkansas School Bus Mechanics Association.


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 combatting 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.”


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 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. Follow the department on Twitter @ArkansasEd. Like them on Facebook at Arkansas Department of Education or follow the agency on Instagram at arkansas_ed.