Take care, be aware of school buses, kids
With most of the state’s more than two million school-aged children back in school this time of year, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) wants motorists to Take Care, Be Aware of the buses and children returning to the state’s roadways – especially during morning rush hour.
ODOT’s analysis of statewide traffic data shows that 1,828 crashes on Ohio roadways last year involved school buses, including nine fatalities.
In addition to school buses returning to the roads, more parents will be back in route to schools. In Ohio, it’s estimated that only half of school-aged children ride a bus to school, but a growing number of students are often driven to school in a private vehicle.
Numbers from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration show that as much as 25 percent of typical morning rush hour traffic is school-related – that’s one out of every four cars on the road each weekday morning heading to school or day care.
Safer routes to school lead to fewer accidents. Over the past two years, ODOT’s Safe Routes to School program has awarded nearly $8 million to communities across the state for school crossing signals, sidewalks, educational materials and school travel plans.
Safety is most important in designated school zones, where traffic speeds are reduced to protect all students arriving at school. However, school zones have been the site of more than 1,300 crashes over the past three years. Two people have been killed in school zone accidents - one of them a crossing guard. In all, more than 500 students and adults have been injured in accidents in school zones from 2005 through 2008, ODOT says.
For more information on how to keep children safe on their way to school, visit out ODOT’s Safe Routes to School program online at www.dot.state.oh.us. The updated Web site offers safety messages for students and drivers, as well as information for local communities on receiving state grants.