BLOOMINGDALE - The Ohio State Highway Patrol is participating in National School Bus Safety Week, which runs through Friday.
This year's theme, "I See the Driver. The Driver Sees Me!" reminds children to look both ways and wait for the go ahead from the bus driver before crossing the roadway.
Throughout the week, Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers across the state will be highly visible, enforcing the law in and around school zones and following school buses on their daily routes, the patrol reported. In addition, troopers may be found riding on school buses looking for motorists passing the stopped school bus and other crash-causing violations, according to the patrol.
PARTICIPATING IN PROGRAM — As part of School Bus Safety Week, Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Shawn Yoho rode along on a bus on Tuesday driven by Lori Vinci to the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School. JVS students participating in the program included, from left, Michael Derby, Tyler VanDyke, Christina Wurschum, Ali Byrley, Ericka Simmons, Ron Hamilton, Rachel Kerkuta, Joe Battilochi, Yoho, Chad Wade, Aaron Lambert. Elijah Smith and Vinci.
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, the patrol reported. 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 Col. 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 2009-11, Ohio reported 4,946 crashes involving a school bus. During that same time period, troopers issued 1,333 citations for passing a stopped school bus.