PARAGOULD, AR(KAIT) - Act 12-07 became effective on January 1st, and the new state law involves brand new school buses, but affects drivers who decide to pass them up.
The new rule seems fairly simple. They want to put a sign on the back of a school bus, either in stick-on letters, or an LED board telling drivers not to pass when the red lights come on.
As Keith Davis who runs the buses for Green County Tech explained, this is another part of Isaac's law enacted in 2005 in honor of William Isaac Brian.
"About 4 years ago there was a child down in Benton, Arkansas that was killed while he was being unloaded from a school bus."
At the moment the signage whether 2-inch stick on letters or an LED is perhaps a bit wordy. Davis read me what would be posted.
Davis, "The law states, It is a violation of Arkansas Law to pass a school bus from any direction when it is stopped to load or unload a child."
School buses are probably one of the safest vehicles on the road today. They have a variety of warning devices already, with a 300 foot warning of amber lights come on.
Davis, "When I come to a complete stop and open my door. That's when the ambers cut off, the red lights come on the stop arm comes out and the stop gate comes out. If a driver is paying attention and I'm not talking about a bus driver but a person in a vehicle is paying attention. Then they are going to see the school bus. That is the reason School Buses are painted yellow."
In spite of all this people still pass school buses, sometimes with tragic results. Where will all these words go in 2 inch letters or an electric sign?
Davis, "The law states it has to be mounted between the two rear windows. So basically it's going to have to be mounted on the rear door."
This new law will only affect brand new buses bought starting in 2011.
According to ArkansasNews.com, educators will ask sponsoring legislator Kim Hendren from Gravette to support amending the sign to something shorter such as. "Arkansas law: stop when red lights are flashing."
Hopefully you can read quickly from a distance. If you are approaching from the front, drivers have all the lights and signs to telling them to stop.
Davis, "The more lights the more stop arms you can put out when you're stopped the better. Some drivers aren't paying attention, they just aren't paying attention."
Probably one of the big misunderstandings people have about stopping for school buses, involve 4 lane roads like 412 which also has a turning lane. The question is, if a school bus is on the far side letting out kids and I'm in the inside opposite lanes. Do I have to stop?
Davis, "Yes sir by law they have to stop and most of the time they do. On a 4 lane with a grassy or paved divider the opposite lane does not have to stop. "
Davis says they do all they can to make sure the kids are safe on his buses.
"The drivers in the vehicles, the other cars, have to be aware that when they see the big yellow bus coming that they are going to stop pretty soon."