Arkansas school bus drivers recently reported 884 instances of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses in one day.
A total of 3,896 school bus drivers representing 227 school districts participated in the yearly, one-day survey that occurred on April 24.
This reflects an increase from April 2018, when 3,258 bus drivers representing 194 districts participated and reported 857 instances of illegal passes.
During the April 24 morning and afternoon bus routes, bus drivers recorded the number of instances where motorists passed stopped school buses that had their red lights flashing.
According to Act 166 of 2019, it is illegal for motorists to pass a stopped bus with its red lights flashing, as students are getting on and off the bus at that time. If convicted, the fines for doing so range from $500 to $2,500.
Of the 884 instances, survey results show that 491 instances occurred during the afternoon versus 393 in the morning.
A total of 711 motorists passed from the front of the bus while a small number, 12 instances occurred where motorists passed on the right side of the bus where students enter and exit the bus.
There were 872 instances where motorists passed on the bus driver’s left side.
“In almost every case, motorists who are traveling in the opposite direction of the bus also must stop when they see a stopped school bus with its red lights flashing,” Jerry Owens, senior transportation manager for Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation said. “In these cases, students may need to cross the road in front of the bus to get to their destination.”
The Arkansas Division of Public School Academic Facilities and Transportation conducts the survey each year at the request of the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services.