Local state representatives react to creation of school bus safety task force

DAYTON — A deadly bus crash in Clark County has lawmakers talking about improving safety on school buses.

Gov. Mike DeWine has announced a task force he said will be taking a “holistic look” at bus safety.

He’d likely need help from the legislature to make potential changes that the task force recommends.

The loss of an 11-year-old boy who died after a van hit his school bus, causing it to overturn in Clark County, has been felt by many in the community — including state lawmakers.

“I don’t have all the details of that accident, but what I’m hearing isn’t good,” Ohio Rep. Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the family of Aiden Clark. The community mourns with this family,” Ohio Rep. Willis Blackshear Jr. (D-Dayton) said.

As previously reported, DeWine broke the news when News Center 7′s John Bedell asked him about the topic Friday — that the state would be creating a bus safety task force.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: DeWine announces school bus safety task force; ‘Everyone wants our kids safer’

News Center 7 asked state lawmakers if they also believe the state should look at putting seatbelts on school buses.

“I’m glad the governor is looking into a task force there. We need to really review the whole transportation arena. And yeah, we should look at seatbelts. I mean, it’s going to be hard to manage them. You know, it’s another burden on the driver, but we need to do the best we can to keep our children safe,” Plummer said.

Blackshear agreed.

“Yes, this is definitely something that we should look at. Currently, there are six states that require seatbelts on school buses. So I think the state, we should be proactive and look at different ways in which we can keep our drivers safe. Also, the kids who are on the busses are safe. So looking at, you know, seatbelts and other technology that could be used to make sure that everybody is safe,” he said.

DeWine said the task force will take a comprehensive look at the issue.

“Seatbelts are certainly one of the things that this task force will look at, but they’ll look at other things. We’ll see — have we missed anything over the years?” he said.

Wednesday DeWine announced he will visit a public bus garage near Cleveland to meet with inspectors from Ohio State Highway Patrol about the inspection process.

We will continue to follow this story and update as new information is released.

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