Be cautious of kids waiting at bus stops

DEAR EDITOR:

The school year will end soon, but until then, many students still will be riding school buses to and from school. The weather is getting warmer, and children may be getting to the bus stops early to spend time with their friends before heading to school. Drivers must be aware and drive more cautiously near bus stops. We also must follow school bus stop laws and stop when a bus has it flashing red lights on and with its stop arm out.

Did you know most injuries and deaths related to children riding school buses occur when children are not on the bus? From 2003 to 2012, 1,353 children and pedestrians died in school bus-related accidents at or near school bus stops; 71 percent of those people were not on the bus, according to NHTSA.

In Ohio, it is against the law to pass a school bus with its red lights on. You must stop on both sides of the road 25 feet away unless the road has more than four lanes, or has a physical divider. Nationally, school bus drivers reported an average of 76,000 violations daily. Even with those statistics, children are 70 times more likely to arrive at school safely than if they rode in a car. Currently in Ohio, two bills are waiting to be introduced that would allow school buses to be equipped with cameras to assist with identifying drivers who pass them illegally. The are H.B. 83 and H.B. 89. If one became law, it might deter drivers from passing school buses and hopefully would save lives.

BETHANIE MAUERMAN

Champion

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