COLUMBUS – National School Bus Safety Week begins today, October 16, and runs through Friday, October 20. During this week, the Ohio State Highway Patrol will be increasing enforcement efforts on school bus violations. These violations include passing a stopped school bus, school zone violations and other school bus or school zone-related activity.
National School Bus Safety Week is supported by the National Association for Pupil Transportation and serves as a reminder to motorists, students and school bus drivers of the important role they all have in ensuring children’s safety. This year’s theme is “BEEP! BEEP! School bus safety starts with me,” a unique reminder to both motorists and students about the dangers that exist outside the school bus.
“School bus safety is a shared responsibility,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “During School Bus Safety Week, I encourage all Ohio drivers to commit to driving responsibly all year long.”
Prior to stopping, school buses display yellow warning lights that signify the bus is about to stop. Once a bus comes to a complete stop, red flashing lights and a stop sign are displayed. Motorists approaching a stopped school bus from either direction are required to stop at least 10 feet from the bus while the bus driver is receiving or discharging students. When a road is divided into four or more lanes, only traffic driving in the same direction as the bus must stop. Drivers may not resume their travels until the bus starts moving.
“Our commitment is protecting our students who ride school transportation every day,” said Colonel Charles A. Jones, Patrol superintendent. “Drivers are required to stop for school buses loading and unloading passengers. However, children must always check both ways and proceed with caution when crossing the roadway.”
Since 2018, there has been a total of 6,298 school bus-related traffic crashes in Ohio, resulting in eight fatalities and 1,982 injuries. One of the eight killed was an occupant of a school bus.
Additionally, school buses are required to be inspected twice a year to ensure the bus is operating properly. Every bus used to transport students is inspected before the beginning of the school year and once randomly during the year. Since 2018, the Ohio State Highway Patrol has performed more than 200,000 inspections.