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Monday, October 17, 2011

Ohio Department of Education promotes school bus safety

The Ohio Department of Education wants to make drivers and students to be safe before and after school hours through National School Bus Safety week.

Education officials said  the week runs Monday, Oct. 17 through Friday, Oct, 21.

”The school bus is a natural extension of the classroom and Ohio school bus drivers frequently remind students how to ride and wait safely for buses,” State Superintendent Stan Heffner said. “Parents can help by regularly reinforcing the safety message. Ohio school bus drivers transport students over 1 million miles each day. Ohioans can be proud of their professionalism and remarkable safety record."

The week's theme “Be Aware-Know the Danger Zone" reminds students to be cautious any time they cross the street.  Students need to cross where they can be seen by the school bus driver and they also need to watch for traffic, state officials said. The greatest risk to children is when they are outside the school bus. Student injuries and fatalities can occur as a result of motorists who attempt to pass a stopped school bus.

 Motorists approaching a stopped school bus from either direction are required to stop at least 10 feet from the bus while the bus is receiving or discharging students.  Bus drivers will activate yellow warning lights prior to the stop to warn traffic, and will display red flashing lights and a stop sign while the bus is stopped.  Motorists should be especially vigilant around any stopped school bus – with or without flashing lights. 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 do occur,” Ohio State Patrol Superintendent Colonel John Born said. “With the cooperation of motorists, parents, and children, we can all help make the school bus ride to and from school as safe as possible for our children, and make this a safe school year throughout Ohio.”

 In 2010, there were a total of 1,695 crashes involving school buses on Ohio roadways. Motorists can do their part by anticipating that children walking or riding their bikes to and from school may become distracted by what is going on around them.

--Angela Gartner


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