The Richland County Safe Communities Coalition is issuing a reminder for drivers to be cautious driving in school zones and around school buses.
The week beginning August 19 is the date most schools return to session and 20 mile per hour school speed zones will be in effect.
“We get used to driving at certain speeds through schools zones during the summer and may not be fully aware that those speeds limits will change with school in progress,” said Reed Richmond, Health Educator at the Mansfield/Ontario/Richland County Health Department and a Safe Communities Coalition partner. “Look for and obey speed limit signs around schools.”
A particular school zone safety issue is in areas where the students have to cross streets to get to the school. Motorists should pay particular attention to children at crosswalks. Children may not always look to see if the road is clear before crossing.
Another area of concern is that all drivers remember safety laws around busses. Ohio law states that if a school bus is stopped with its red lights flashing on a road with fewer than four lanes, all traffic from either direction must stop at least ten (10) feet from the front or rear of that school bus. On a road that has four or more lanes, only traffic proceeding in the same direction as the school bus must stop. Once stopped, drivers may not proceed until the bus resumes motion or until signaled by the school bus driver to proceed.*
“Many people don’t know these simple rules,” Richmond said. “Passing a stopped school bus on a two lane road is one of the most dangerous thing you can do while driving. But stopping for a school bus on a four lane road when you are coming in the opposite direction may jeopardize the safety of you and other motorists who are not expecting an unnecessary stop.”