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Mayflower schools urges drivers to use caution around buses

According to the Mayflower School Transportation Director, there have been 40 incidents of close calls this school year alone.

MAYFLOWER, Ark. — School officials and law enforcement in Mayflower have seen an increase in traffic violations, putting students in danger as they head to and from school.

Mayflower School Transportation Director Doug Jones has carried the stress and concern of protecting students as they board and deboard buses every day for the last year.

“It happens, you know, 2-3-4 times a week here recently. We've addressed it with authorities and the schools are aware of it, it's just getting the public and the community's attention," Jones explained.

Jones has driven buses for 18 years and he said that enough is enough.

With 9 bus routes transporting over 450 students a day, Jones said that during this school year alone they have seen 40 incidents of close calls.

"Please stop for one precious second moment,” he urged.

Bus drivers have reported drivers going on the shoulder of roads to get around, disregarding the flashing red lights and the stop sign, and nearly hitting children getting on or off the bus.

“These buses hold our most precious commodities,” said Lieutenant Taylor Decker with the Mayflower Police Department.

According to Decker, since the start of the 2022/2023 school year, in the hours of 5 a.m. to 8 a.m., the department has already given 26 citations/warnings.

However, during the afternoon hours of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., that number almost doubled with 49 citations/warnings.

“The standard Arkansas laws that apply to careless prohibited driving, passing when you're not supposed to things like that, Arkansas has a very specific law in regard to passing a school bus when it is stopped and the red lights are on,” Decker said. “If you pass that school bus and break that statute, there's a fine of from anywhere from $250 to $1,000 and even has a possible jail sentence as a max penalty for it.”

Transportation Director Jones added that they do have one specific trouble spot.

“It is mainly 365 North and South. It's a well-traveled busy area daily and people are in hurry. I get it, people are on cell phones, but again, lean back to that precious second,” Jones said.

A precious second that could change the lives of families forever.

Decker said that once the busses get outside the city limits, the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office is very good about monitoring traffic, as well as Arkansas State Police.

Officers are all hands on deck working to catch those who do not respect the rules of the road— and they have a plan.

“We'll have unmarked units behind the buses following buses and marked units following buses, whatever we can do, to try and make sure that people aren't putting our kids in danger. And, if they're caught putting our kids in danger, there's no breaks, there's no warnings there's no get you next time,” Decker said.


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