AVON LAKE, Ohio — A new school year means more school buses will soon be on the roads.
And while police in Avon Lake will be beefing up patrols for drivers who illegally pass school buses, one city councilman wants to put violators behind bars.
If passed, Avon Lake will become the first in Northeast Ohio to add jail time for drivers illegally pass school buses.
Ward IV Councilman David Kos introduced the ordinance that will increase fines from $500-$750, and allow a judge to impose up to a 30-day jail sentence.
Kos added, “When kids are getting on and off the bus that is when they are most vulnerable and saving yourself 30 seconds of time trying to get to work and get to an appointment is not worth having a child being struck. “
Kos says out of the more than 4,000 school bus drivers who participated in a recent statewide study, 1,500 reported illegal passings.
“ …and on that one day in the city of Avon Lake we had 11 illegal passings at school buses,” said Kos.
Avon Lake school superintendent Bob Scott says students K through eighth grade take the bus to and from school in the city every day. He says the greater penalties will hopefully make people think twice when driving near a school bus.
“…And that time from when they walk off the sidewalk until they get on that bus it is a weak spot; it is one of the most dangerous spots especially when they have to cross the street to get on the bus,” said Scott.
Avon Lake City Council members are expected to pass the ordinance when they cast their vote on August 19, and any emergency clause would put it into effect immediately which will be in place before the start of the school year on August 21.