POMEROY — National School Bus Safety Week starts tomorrow and runs through Oct. 26.
The theme this year is “I See the Driver. The Driver Sees Me!,” a slogan which serves to remind children to look both ways and wait for the go-ahead from the bus driver before crossing the roadway.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be active participants in the observance.
Throughout the week, troopers across the state of Ohio will be highly visible, enforcing the law in and around school zones and following school buses on their daily routes. In addition, troopers may be found riding on school buses looking for motorists passing the stopped school bus and committing other crash-causing violations.
It was stressed in a release from the Patrol that the greatest risk to children occurs outside the school bus, as injuries and fatalities result from motorists who attempt to pass a stopped school bus. Ohio law requires motorists approaching from either direction of a stopped school bus to stop at least 10 feet from a bus loading or unloading passengers. If a school bus is stopped on a road divided into four or more lanes, only traffic driving in the same direction as the bus must stop.
“While school buses remain the safest mode of travel on Ohio roadways, school bus crashes still occur,” said Colonel John Born, Patrol superintendent. “In order to make this school year safe, we need motorists to be patient and never pass a stopped school bus … and for children to always wait for their bus driver to signal it is safe to cross the roadway.”
From 2009-2011, Ohio reported 4,946 crashes involving a school bus, according to a report from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
During that same time period, troopers issued 1,333 citations to motorists for passing a stopped school bus.
Last week, Trooper Shawn Cunningham met with Dean Harris, the Meigs Local School District transportation director, to talk about bus safety and view one of the three new buses which were put in service last week.
As a added safety feature, the overall fleet of 23 buses which travel 1,922 miles a day are equipped with all new radio and global position systems which allow the transportation director to track wherever the bus is traveling. In addition, each one has interactive video which provides the ability to monitor activity going on inside the bus.