Not all traffic has to stop when Springfield school bus does

Springfield mom concerned about traffic not stopping for school buses

A Springfield mother is concerned about traffic not stopping when her son’s school bus stops on their busy road but state troopers have investigated and said drivers aren’t breaking the law.

Sheryl Fletcher and her 7-year-old son, Tyler, live on West Columbia Street in Springfield. It’s a three lane, one-way street.

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When the school bus stops to pick Tyler up, Fletcher says traffic often passes the bus instead of stopping.

“In years past we’ve moved his stop so we wouldn’t have to deal with the traffic but he was continuing to get sick so we put him back in front of the house,” Fletcher said.

Her son was diagnosed with persistent severe asthma and his doctors want him to wait for the school bus in his home.

“It does make him more prone to pneumonia, colds and stuff like that in the winter time,” Fletcher said.

She contacted the Ohio State Highway Patrol with her concerns about the traffic not stopping for the school bus.

“We assigned different units on different days to sit in that area, work that area to see if there’s any violations,” said Lt. Brian Aller, commander of the state patrol’s Springfield post.

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The troopers didn’t catch any violations that day, Aller said. It’s possible drivers were better behaved then because they saw the state patrol cruiser, Fletcher said.

But Columbia Street is also unique, he said.

“The third lane, the fast lane most people may say it is, they don’t necessarily have to stop because there are never going to be kids crossing three lanes of traffic to get to the bus,” Aller said.

Cars behind the bus and in the middle lane next to it have to stop, Aller said, but drivers in the left lane don’t.

Fletcher was surprised and upset to hear the law doesn’t apply to all lanes of travel. She will continue to make sure her son gets on and off the bus safely.

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The highway patrol receives a lot of complaints about school bus safety, Aller said. It’s one of the few minor misdemeanors that his department can issue citations for and not actually have to observe, he said. A witness or bus driver statement will do.

The state patrol will take part in School Bus Safety Week from Oct. 18 to 20. They will follow school buses during school hours to make sure no violations occur.

“The fines are hefty,” Aller said. “You can also be suspended for something like that, depending on how many violations you have on your driving record or anything else. The buses themselves carry our future, they carry our children.”

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