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Focus Needed on Preventing Ohio School Bus Accidents

Children are back to school in Ohio and across the country. This means that drivers need to be mindful of children out on the roads and at bus stops.

Drivers who fail to take simple precautionary measures contribute to the dangers for children on buses. School districts are investing in sophisticated technologies to make busses safer for students, but by following a few safety tips, drivers can reduce the risk of vehicle accidents.

Ohio School Bus Accident Rates

According to statistics from the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the number of school bus accidents has fallen steadily since the 1,671 accidents in 2006 to 1,579 in 2010. 2010 saw 77 fewer school bus accidents than the previous year. However, certain counties saw increases in the number of accidents. The Montgomery County school bus accident rate was up by nine to reach 92. Greene County's accident total rose by 10 to reach 17. Miami County's 15 accidents was an increase of three from the previous year and Butler County rose by one to 53.

Preventing School Bus Accidents

Some school districts across the state have invested in technology to try to make school buses safer for students. Some busses have cameras and DVRs to record what goes on in the bus. Other busses have GPS devices that allow school officials to monitor the drivers' speeds and time.

One of the best ways to cut down on bus accidents is for other drivers to be more alert when school busses are near, or when children are out waiting for the bus. Drivers in more rural areas of the state, such as Mahoning County, need to be especially careful, as the weather and the climate create challenging driving conditions for most of the school year.

Police say that one of the most dangerous things that drivers do is attempt to pass school busses when the bus has its red lights flashing. In Ohio, if a school bus driver reports the license plate of a car that passes the bus while the bus is stopped, the police can issue a citation without having had to see the event themselves. This is the only kind of traffic infraction in Ohio for which police are allowed to write tickets without having witnessed it.

Other safety measures for drivers to keep in mind during the school year include:

•· Slow down in school zones.

•· Check when backing out of driveways for children travelling to or from school.

•· Be alert for children who may dart into the street trying to catch the bus.

•· Understand what flashing lights on busses mean: yellow indicates the bus will stop soon and red lights mean that the bus is stopped and cars may not pass.

The goal of all of these precautions is to prevent serious injuries and deaths caused by bus accidents.

Your Unique Case

Going back to school can be an exciting time for many children. One careless or impatient driver can ruin that for an entire family. If your family has undergone the trauma of having a child involved in a school bus accident, contact an attorney to discuss your legal options.

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