EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD)–Many South Arkansas schools are getting ready for the first day of classes! As students get ready to head back to the classroom, the Union County Sheriff’s Office is offering back-to-school safety tips as a reminder for drivers. 

“We have been used to the summer without having to worry about the speed zones. We’ve got kids and parents, so it’s essential to pay attention,” said Eric Meadows, Lieutenant for the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

Summer break means no school buses or speed zones, but soon school will be back in session and there will be an increased amount of school buses on route as well as active school zones.

It’s against state law to pass a school bus while it is loading or unloading. State law also requires all school zones to be marked. Drivers are advised to be alert to the school speed limit, which can drop as low as 10 or 15 miles per hour.

Drivers should refrain from using electronic devices to prevent accidents with a school bus or while driving through a school zone.

“It’s against state law to have your phones out. We need to make sure that we put those down, be vigilant, and pay attention, explains Meadows.”

So, when do you stop for school buses?

  • Two Lanes: Vehicles traveling in each direction are required to stop when the bus’s red lights are flashing. 
  • Three Lanes: When the highway has a center turning lane with one travel lane on each side, vehicles traveling in each direction are required to stop when the bus’s red lights are flashing. 
  • Four Lanes: Vehicles traveling in each direction are required to stop when the bus’s red lights are flashing. 
  • Divided Highway: When the highway has a grass median or other physical barriers, only traffic moving in the same direction as the bus is required to stop when the bus’s red lights are flashing. Oncoming traffic should proceed with caution. 
  • Divided Highway: When the highway has a center turning lane with two travel lanes on each side, only traffic moving in the same direction as the bus is required to stop when the bus’s red lights are flashing. Oncoming traffic should proceed with caution. 

Remember to be mindful of this information as the 2022-2023 school year approaches.