Back to School safety is for everyone
In Arkansas and Oklahoma, most schools are starting back to class in the next week or two and with that comes increased traffic and potential safety issues. At On Time Logistics, we value safety first whether in the warehouse or on the road so we use our blog to promote school safety at the beginning of each school year.
In recent years, we’ve joined the annual Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. Campaign from the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Association of Pupil Transportation, and Arkansas School Bus Mechanics Association. In its seventh year, this campaign works to educate everyone about school bus safety, which is important for everyone involved, but especially the children.
“Each day approximately 350,000 Arkansas students ride school buses,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a recent press release. “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.”
We couldn’t agree more, sir. We are alarmed at the latest statistics regarding the lack of consideration for school bus safety. According to the ADE, an April 2019 study indicates that 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. We agree this is not acceptable and encourage our entire team to be mindful of buses whether they are in a company vehicle or on their own time.
More than buses
School safety is more than just watching for buses. Watch for kids on bikes or even walking to school. It’s easier for kids to get distracted and dart into traffic. It’s our responsibility as drivers and grownups to be on the lookout for that.
We also want to remind everyone not to use your phone for any purpose in a school zone or construction zone. Not only is that a potentially deadly decision, the Arkansas Legislature strengthened the existing distracted driving laws with Act 738, which defines the term texting to mean “manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device.” That means texting, checking social media, private message channels, and any other written communication on your phone.
Make a plan
As professionals ourselves, we get the need to arrive to work on time. We highly recommend that you allow extra time the first couple of weeks of school so you can learn the new bus routes then adjust your timing and even route accordingly. The bus routes change each year so last year’s plan may not work this year!
Also, for parents, talk to your kids about safety. Even if you’ve had the discussion before. We all need reminders.
We want everyone to arrive safe to wherever they are going be it school or work. Let’s work together as a community to make that happen.