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Academic year is time for increased caution



Published: Sat, August 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The OSHP asks drivers to watch out for those driving to school for the first time.

COLUMBUS -- The pealing of school bells also is a call for caution by motorists.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding drivers and parents about safety issues as school resumes during the next few weeks.

Commuters should leave home early to allow for delays around school bus stops, the patrol recommends. Drivers who back out of garages or driveways should watch out for children who may be walking to school or buses.

Parents, meanwhile, should stress bus stop safety to children. This includes waiting for the bus to stop completely and open its doors before trying to board, never walking behind a bus, and remaining at least 10 steps away from the outsides and front of the bus.

Quick tips

OSHP also offers these safety tips:

UVehicles must stop when a bus displays its flashing red warning lights and its stop signal arm is extended. No vehicle may pass a bus until the flashing lights and signals have been turned off.

UMotorists approaching railroad crossings should maintain assured clear distance between their vehicles and school buses, which are required by state law to stop, look both ways, and listen through an open door or window before proceeding.

UNo motorist may pass a school bus on its right side, where children enter or leave.

UMotorists should watch out in school zones for less-experienced student drivers who may be driving to school for the first time.

ULikewise, student drivers must remain aware of buses around school grounds, decrease their speed accordingly, limit distractions and require passengers to wear safety belts.

During 2004, Ohio recorded 2,067 accidents involving school buses. Three motorists died, and 701 injuries were reported by motorists and school bus occupants, the patrol said.

The patrol's Motor Vehicle Inspection Teams inspect all Ohio school buses at least twice each year -- once before school begins and again during the school year.




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