How safe is your child's bus FOX19 Investigates w/ Matt Nordin - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

FOX19 Investigates: School bus crashes

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Every year in the Tri-State there are hundreds of school bus crashes and dozens of students hurt. So who's usually to blame --- the school bus driver or the other driver?

FOX19 obtained the latest statistics available from the Ohio State Highway Patrol for 2009-2011. They show that bus drivers were at fault in 44.4% of the crashes, while the other driver was at fault in 44.9% of them.

The one thing those statistics show is that even with school bus drivers getting up to 45 hours of training, people will make mistakes. That leads to a long-debated question, should kids in buses wear seatbelts?

It depends who you talk to, according to a safety manager at First Student, a transportation company that provides dozens of school buses in Cincinnati.

"The high back seats that are required by the state of Ohio is for compartmentalization, like an egg crate," said Tom Gutman. "And they feel it's still the safest way to go."

He points out, though, that special needs students do wear seatbelts when they ride a First Student bus.

Gutman and senior location manager Joe Eversole say the biggest problem their drivers face is passenger car drivers who are too impatient.

"I think the thing that motorists have to remember is that there is a lot of time (required) especially with our special needs buses when they stop," said Eversole.

Recently, a woman in Cleveland lost her license for a month and had to wear a sign that said "Only an idiot would drive around a school bus," after the bus driver recorded video of her driving her car on the sidewalk to get around him. He told authorities that it happened day after day.

Meanwhile, a bus industry website points out that in Ohio school bus crashes declined about 25% between 2000 and 2010. So, the industry argues, it is getting safer.

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