As students return to in-person classes, school bus safety around the “Danger Zone” remains a heightened concern for school districts and parents.
Sen. Theresa Gavarone introduced the “School Bus Safety Act” on Jan. 26 to raise additional awareness of the dangers of illegally passing a stopped school bus. SB 23 would create a $300 civil penalty for drivers who are caught illegally passing a school bus and authorize the use of video cameras and still images to capture the vehicle.
The bill would also allow images and videos to be used to identify a driver illegally passing a stopped school bus or the license plate for the intent of issuing a citation.
Of the $300 fine, $250 would be issued to the school district, $25 to local law enforcement, and $25 to the newly created fund through the Ohio Treasury’s “School Bus Safety and Education Fund.” Gavarone said via a press release the fund is intended to enhance school bus safety and raise public awareness of the laws surrounding school bus safety.
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“No parent should have to worry about their child’s safety when getting on or off of a school bus,” said Gavarone. “Cameras have proven to be effective at combatting the issue of illegally passing school buses, but the cost of installation and maintenance is prohibitive for many school districts. That is why I am proud to introduce this bill, the first of its kind in Ohio, that would give every school district the opportunity to equip cameras to their entire fleet of school buses without a single dime of taxpayer funds.”
The legislation also designates August as School Bus Safety Awareness month.
The bill has since been referred to the committee of veterans and public safety.