Clark County drivers put kids at risk passing school buses

School bus drivers in Clark County have reported multiple drivers breaking traffic laws and speeding past stopped school buses.

Drivers not stopping for buses puts students lives at risk, Shawnee Local Schools Transportation Supervisor Jake Mattern said.

But some motorists might not know all the rules when it comes to if and when motorists can pass a bus, law enforcement said.

“We’re watching traffic to make sure they’re actually going to do what they need to do to keep our children safe,” Mattern said.

It’s a daily problem, the bus driver said, as motorists drive past buses even when the red lights are flashing and the stop signs are activated when students are getting on and off.

Bus drivers try report motorists who break the laws, said Lt. Brian Aller, commander of the Springfield post of the State Highway Patrol.

“It seems to happen every year when school starts,” he said of the influx of bus drivers reporting the violations.

The number of lanes on a roadway determines if motorists can pass a stopped school bus that has activated its stopping lights, Aller said.

“We use the one-lane buffer rule,” he said.

On a tw0-lane road, such as State Route 72 that runs south of Interstate 70, drivers behind and going in the opposite direction of a stopped bus must also stop, according to Ohio laws.

“It happens every day,” Mattern said of drivers on that stretch of road speeding by in the opposite direction of his stopped school vehicle.

If a road has two lanes of travel and a center turn lane, Aller said, then vehicles in the center turn lane must stop, but ones that have a “one lane buffer” in the opposite direction can go.

And on four-lane roads, with two lanes of traffic in both directions, cars traveling in the opposite direction of a stopped school bus can travel freely, Aller said.

“You have to be vigilant,” Aller said.

People not stopping is not the only problem schools deal with when it comes to safety of students on buses.

Drivers speeding in posted school zones — where the speed limit is 20 mph in designated times — is also and issue, Aller said.

Distracted drivers, such as texting or looking at their phones, Mattern said is also an issue.

“Put the cell phones down … pay attention to the road, because we’ve got our kids out there and they are the number one priority,” the bus driver said.

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