CLARK COUNTY — Ohio’s school bus safety task force will hold its third public meeting in Columbus today.
News Center 7 was the first to report when Governor Mike DeWine formed the group just days after Aiden Clark, an 11-year-old Northwestern Local School student, died after a 2010 Honda Odyssey hit a school bus on State Route 41 not far from Springfield back in August.
DeWine said that the task force would take a holistic look at school bus safety after the deadly school bus crash.
News Center 7′s Taylor Robertson is reporting live this morning from the German Township Fire Department during News Center 7′s Daybreak.
This was where parents of the students involved in the crash picked up their kids.
Robertson was also there that day when parents were sprinting from their cards to that fire department to try and get an update on their kid.
She said it was pure chaos filling the entire area.
Robertson spoke with one of the parents whose child went to the hospital and said she was not putting her children back on the bus.
News Center 7 was the second task force meeting last month where there was a lot of talk about seat belts.
They reviewed data from crashes involving school buses in the state over the last five years.
Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) troopers said those wrecks have accounted for about 0.4% of all crashes in Ohio during that time span.
Last November, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all states require school buses to have seat belts.
Ohio is not one of those states.
“You’re always at risk if you’re in the intrusion zone, that’s what’s very challenging,” said Dr. Kristin Poland, Deputy Director of the NTSB Office of Highway Safety. “In the crashes we’ve investigated, we’ve looked at that real-world outcome, and we believe that we’ve seen a benefit for the restraint system.”
News Center 7 also spoke with parents at the second task force meeting in Columbus last month and asked them questions.
We asked them what they feel is most important for this task force to pay attention to when it comes to school bus safety.
Some people told News Center 7 that they want to see seatbelts on buses, and hope drivers who are safe will pay attention.
The task force will look at driver licensing, certification, and training.
As the state continues to move forward with school bus safety, the parents News Center 7 spoke with said they are still worried about sending their kids off on a bus.
“I’ve definitely had a few times where I’m like, what do I do when he has to ride a school bus?” said Jessica Brock. “It kind of makes me after these things, makes me not want to go on a school bus. Makes me want to just drive him.”
Robertson reports school bus safety does not just include the bus driver, it is all of us.
When driving behind a bus, drivers should give plenty of distance and when the bus stops with its lights flashing, drivers should stop as well.
News Center 7 will be monitoring the third public meeting of the Ohio school bus task force and have the latest information during our news at 5 p.m. today.
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