Ohio police intensify focus on school bus safety
This week, you’ll see more police and sheriff deputies around school zones. Their goal is to encourage motorists to slow down and pay closer attention as students travel to and from school.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, school buses have been involved over 62,000 crashes in the past five years. Of those incidents, 2000 people were injured and eight lost their lives. This includes an 11-year-old Northwestern Local School student in August of 2023.
Sgt. Tyler Ross, an officer with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, states that officers will ticket drivers who are reckless around school buses.
“We’re going to follow school buses to make sure motorists are stopping for the stop sign that comes out — that they’re paying attention to the flashing lights,” Sgt. Ross explained. “You have to stop at least ten feet behind a bus,
if you’re on the opposing side if you see that stop arm and the flashing lights. Three lanes or less always stop. Four lanes or greater you have to stop on the side of the school bus, opposing traffic does not have to stop.”
Sgt. Ross also reminds drivers if they pass a stopped school bus, the fine can be as high as $500, potential loss of their driver's license for up to a year and a mandatory court appearance.
Additionally, he highlights the important role students and parents play in keeping young people safe.
“Students getting off the buses look both ways before getting off the bus because there are situations where vehicles are passing buses on the shoulder. When you’re crossing the roadways, look both ways,” Sgt. Ross said.
“Parents, if you're at a bus stop and you’re waiting for your student to be dropped off, be vigilant, watch traffic–it’s a team effort.”
Sgt. Ross emphasizes roadway safety is everyone’s responsibility.