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Agencies partner to make Ohio’s school buses safer

COLUMBUS - Today, Ohio State Highway Patrol Colonel Charles A. Jones and Ohio Department of Transportation Director Jack Marchbanks announced an effort between multiple state agencies and private sector businesses that will make Ohio school buses more visible to other motorists and safer for the 1.6 million students transported on them.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP), the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) have partnered to create new highly-reflective “STOP” decals for the rear of every school bus in the state.

In the coming months, each of the state’s nearly 20,000 school buses will be outfitted with the new decals which make buses more visible in both daylight and at nighttime. The decals are being printed by ODOT’s Sign Shop and will be provided to the schools at no cost.

“This simple step to make Ohio’s school buses more visible will make a big difference to prevent rear-end crashes and protect both our kids and other motorists,” said Governor DeWine. “I commend our traffic safety teams who regularly go above and beyond to look out for those traveling on Ohio’s roads.”

The idea was brought about by troopers in the Patrol’s Licensing and Commercial Standard Unit. They saw a need for increased visibility and worked with ODOT, ODE, manufacturers, and various safety committees to vet the idea. During their research, Ohio troopers found no other state offering such a safety mechanism.

“I am beyond proud of the troopers and professional staff who worked tirelessly to see this through,” said Colonel Charles A. Jones, OSHP superintendent. “Their dedication will have a positive impact on the students who rely on buses to transport them to and from school and school-related events safely each day.”

“Governor DeWine has been a constant champion for safety on our roads. When the Patrol reached out to us with this idea, we were happy to help make travel to and from school safer for our children,” said ODOT Director Jack Marchbanks.

Nine school districts in Ohio piloted the decals on their buses and completed a survey to report their results. Of the eight districts who responded to the survey, all believed the new reflective signs were more effective than the standard, non-reflective STOP decal currently displayed on the rear of school buses. All the districts also indicated the reflective STOP decal would improve school bus safety in dusk/dawn lighting conditions and in rain.

Those districts who participated included:

  • Centerville City Schools (Montgomery)
  • Chagrin Falls Exempted Village Schools (Cuyahoga)
  • Columbus City Schools (Franklin)
  • Dublin City Schools (Franklin)
  • Green Local Schools (Summit)
  • Huber Heights City Schools (Montgomery)
  • Marysville Exempted Village School District (Union)
  • Massillon City Schools (Stark)
  • Union-Scioto Local School District (Ross)

Since 2017, there have been 6,519 school bus-related crashes. Of these crashes, 1,421 involved a driver following too close and 712 involved a driver failing to yield.