NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio- The North Ridgeville School District has been pleading with drivers for months to stop in both directions when a school bus is picking up or dropping off students.
But district officials say newly-released videos are proof that some drivers are not getting the message.
In one of the video clips, a newly installed camera on a bus shows how a chain reaction accident nearly happened, when a driver suddenly realized he had to stop for the bus, slammed on the brakes alongside the bus and was nearly hit from behind by two cars following too closely.
"It’s three people not paying attention," said North Ridgeville transportation supervisor Tammy Butler.
The same scenario led to an accident on Friday. Video shows three vehicles speed by a bus trying to drop off students, and a fourth driver suddenly stops on the side of the bus and is then struck from behind. Fortunately, no one was hurt but both drivers were cited for failing to stop for a school bus. "We can't believe that people are so wrapped up and involved in their own little personal world that they don't care about what's going on around them," said Butler.
What is alarming about the latest incidents on North Ridgeville school bus routes is that they come in the wake of a public safety campaign, complete with signs, reminding drivers that they must stop in both directions for any school bus stopped on a road with less than four lanes. Tammy Butler told FOX 8, "You know when you get your driver's license, you're told when you get your plates every year. It's on the packet; I don't, people just aren't paying attention."
North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock says that as a result of drivers continuing to disobey the law, he is asking state lawmakers to consider stiffer penalties for those who refuse to stop for school buses.
Mayor Gillock told FOX 8, "It's pretty astonishing as many violations as are out there; I don't know if it's apathy or people are on their phones or just careless."
Gillock says he believes drivers may start paying attention if the state increases the penalty for violators from up to a $500 fine and two points on their driver's license, to up to a six-point violation, which would drive up their insurance rate.
"You have to wonder: What are these people thinking or doing, you know? I mean, it's kind of hard to miss that big yellow bus there, with flashing red lights; it's not like you didn't see it,” said Gillock.