Summit County school district says problem of drivers ignoring bus signals is getting worse

COVENTRY TWP., Ohio - A Summit County school district says it's seeing an increase in drivers ignoring school bus stop signals, potentially putting kids at risk.

FOX 8 News was riding along on a Coventry Local School District bus on South Main Street in Coventry Township Friday afternoon as drivers blew past the activated stop sign and flashing lights.

Bus driver Jeff Jagger, who has been driving school buses for a decade, said the problem is getting worse.

“People run our red lights on a daily basis,” Jagger said.

Jagger said he has seen a student and parent nearly hit by a passing car and fears for kids’ safety.

“It's terrifying; it really is,” he said.

Ohio law requires drivers in both directions to stop for a school bus stopped on roads with three lanes or fewer. On roads with four lanes or more, traffic traveling in the same direction as the bus must stop.

Violators can be charged with a misdemeanor that requires a court appearance and up to a $500 fine. Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. John Hromiak said 4,000 people were cited for school bus violations in Ohio between 2014 and 2016.

“When they are activated, stop, because we don't want a parent to get a phone call from us or us at their doorstep,” Hromiak said.

Bus drivers can report violators to law enforcement, which could lead to a warning or citation being issued.

“It's a very serious offense,” Hromiak said, adding that school bus cameras help with enforcement.

Coventry Local Schools Superintendent Lisa Blough said the district is exploring the possibility of putting cameras on buses.

“If you’re going to kill a kid for a minute’s worth of your time, what’s so important?” Jagger said. “There’s gotta be a way to stop it.”