(KARK) PULASKI COUNTY, Ark.-When it comes to students riding the bus to school or heading home, the top priority is safety.
But all too often, bus drivers are dealing with people who pass school buses illegally.
The Department of Education is bringing awareness to the issue through a survey.
Ivory Gaston has been driving with the Pulaski County School District for 13 years.
“I enjoy carrying kids back and forth from school,” Gaston said. “Safety is number one.”
But too often, Gaston has to deal with drivers passing school buses illegally.
“My thought is they have something on their mind that shouldn’t be,” Gaston said.
It’s something that’s pretty hard to miss.
“This is a yellow school bus with a stop arm out and red lights flashing,” Jerry Owens said.
Jerry Owens is the Senior Transportation Manager for the Department of Education. He says they’re hoping to put a stop and bring more awareness to the issue through a survey.
“They are just recording the number of instances that buses are illegally passed,” Owens said.
The Department of Education says in 2018, close to 200 school districts participated in the survey.
In that one day, there were 857 reports of illegal passes.
“That is an alarming number and that number has been consistent,” Owens said.
Charles Anderson is an Operation Specialist with the Pulaski County School District. He says the on-going problem should be a wake-up call for drivers.
“It could be your niece, nephews or your own child that’s getting off the bus that could be hit,” Anderson said.
Bus drivers recorded the instances after their shifts.
The Department of Education says they should have the results in about two weeks.
Drivers who illegally pass school buses can face up to $2,500 dollars in tickets and fines.