BG schools report multiple offenses of cars passing stopped school buses
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio (WNWO) -- National School Bus Safety Week kicked off Monday and one local school district is cracking down on drivers, who are putting their students at risk.
Since the school year began about two months ago, Bowling Green City School District has reported that a vehicle has driven past one of their stopped school buses 19 times.
Four of those times, were just last week.
"Anytime the red lights are flashing and the stop sign is out stop, it's only 5 to 10 seconds at the most, which is a good 5 to 10 seconds to spend because ultimately it could lead to a life time of regret," said Toby Snow, Bowling Green City Schools director of transportation.
The district is cracking down on drivers passing their school buses illegally.
"That's a state law, you see those lights flashing you gotta stop. We're not trying inconvenience anybody we're just trying to make sure that our kids can get on the bus and off the bus safely without having to worry about a car blowing through the stop light and possibly hitting them," said Francis Scruci, Bowling Green City Schools superintendent.
It's one of the only laws in the state where an officer doesn't have to be present to receive a citation.
Of their 21 buses active on routes, 11 of those have cameras that capture the offenders license plate number. For those without cameras, bus drivers can report the violation. They have to provide a description of the driver, their vehicle and license plate number.
"The citation, depending on what the court jurisdiction it is, could be a mandatory court appearance. But we try to make sure that we cover all of our bases by speaking with the school bus driver to ask him or her questions regarding the actual incident and then we also go and speak to the person that committed the violation," said Lt. Angel Burgos with the Bowling Green post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Depending on where the offense happens, citations could be anywhere from $100 to $200.
But no fine can substitute a child's life.
"It's everyone's responsibility to ensure that we have our kids safe. There [are] too many tragedies that have occurred nationwide because people aren't taking the time, or giving themselves ample time, to get to their destination so they feel like running these stopped school buses is going to get them to work a lot quicker," said Lt. Burgos.
Snow said they plan to have each of their buses equipped with a camera by the end of the year.