OSHP offers school bus safety tips for drivers and students

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Summer break ends for thousands of Ohio children this month who will be heading back to school.

Currently, the Ohio State Highway Patrol motor vehicle inspectors are in the process of inspecting every Ohio school bus to ensure each bus is safe to transport children to and from school, and school-sanctioned events.

Across Ohio, the Patrol has 23 teams of motor vehicle inspectors who inspect all Ohio school buses at least twice each year; once prior to the beginning of the school year and once during the school year. During 2008 through 2010, that equated to 140,179 inspections.

However, school bus safety is more than just the inspections. Motorists approaching a school bus from either direction should remember they are required to stop a least 10 feet back from buses displaying red flashing lights and an extended stop arm.

From 2008 through 2010, 4,438 motorists were cited for failing to stop for a school bus loading or unloading children, including 184 citations in Hamilton County, 154 in Butler, 61 in Warren and 32 in Clermont. Hamilton County was fifth-highest in the state.

"Although drivers of all vehicles are required to stop for a school bus when it is stopped to load or unload passengers, children should not rely on them to do so," said Lt. Mejia, commander of the Hamilton Post. "Children exiting the bus should always stop and look both ways before crossing the street and remain alert to any sudden traffic changes."

Motorists need to plan ahead and allow extra time for these school bus stops. Motorists are urged to exercise patience and never pass a stopped school bus.  Additionally, motorists need to watch out for children walking to and from the bus stop when they are backing out of a garage or driveway. With everyone's extra attention we can make this a safe year for school bus travel.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.