This month the Ohio Highway Patrol is advocating driver awareness during the National Bus Safety Week. Failure to abide by these traffic laws could result in fines up to $500. Troopers are going to follow school buses to keep a watch for anyone who fails to stop for a bus when the lights are flashing.
One Ohio Highway Patrol Sergeant stopped his marked cruiser behind Sylvania school bus No. 9, which was coming to a stop in front of a home on Corey Road. The bus driver, Don Haase, switched the yellow flashing lights to red, making it illegal for anyone to pass.
Just a moment later, as a young boy carrying his book bag boarded the bus, a silver Honda blew by in the opposite direction, heading toward Central Avenue.
“Got one on the first stop,” the sergeant, a 13-year veteran of the patrol, said. The woman driving the Honda was cited for failure to yield for a school bus, the sergeant said.
Sergeant Foltz, who has worked the bus-safety detail nearly every year since joining the patrol, said Tuesday was the first time he’s caught someone during the project. The woman behind the wheel in the Honda told the sergeant she was rushing to get her daughter to school. The sergeant said that so many times people are distracted with other things instead of paying attention to the road.
Joe Kahl, transportation director for Sylvania schools, said bus drivers record someone passing a bus nearly every day, either by noting the license plate and jotting it down, or capturing it on a camera installed on the exterior of some school buses.
Mr. Kahl declined to comment on how many of the district’s buses have such cameras.
The issue becomes the safety of the drivers and the school children getting on or off the bus, said Highway Patrol Lt. John Altman, who was riding on bus No. 9 as an extra set of eyes for Mr. Haase – when kindergarten students weren’t trying to win the lieutenant’s attention.
“It’s a matter of safety,” Lieutenant Altman said. “We don’t want to deal with a situation where a child has been injured.
“Put the cell phone down, put the cup of coffee down and pay attention,” Lieutenant Altman added. “It’s about making the public aware to be safe around buses.”
School buses are the safest mode of transportation in Ohio, according to the Highway Patrol, but in 2010, 1,695 crashes across the state involved school buses.
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