Stow considers jail time for passing stopped school buses

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STOW, Ohio (WJW)– It is an alarming trend that appears to be on the rise: Drivers passing stopped yellow school buses. They either get away with it or get slapped with a minor fine.

But one Stow city legislator is trying to change that.

“The proposal is to increase penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus,” Councilman Mario Fiocca said.

Fiocca said under his proposed legislation, violators will be subject to a $1,000 fine and/or 30 days in jail. The current law only allows a fine of up to $500.

“It’s important that offenders know that this is a serious offense and our children’s safety is paramount.”

Stow transportation supervisor and former bus driver Beth Hunter said with 46 buses, transporting hundreds of pre-K through high school students every day, drivers failing to stop for those flashing lights happens at least twice a week. But Hunter questions how the proposed law would be enforced, since buses are not equipped with cameras in Stow.

“We don’t have the outside red-light cameras on these buses. They have interior cameras but not, nothing that would catch someone going through,” she said.

Still, parents we spoke with agree something needs to be done before tragedy strikes.

“You hit anybody’s wallet, that generally does something. Yeah, they need to do something. It just can’t be a slap on the hand and continue on,” Lisa Keller said.

A study from the National Safety Council shows 264 school-age children were killed in school transportation-related crashes from 2008 through 2017.

Fiocca’s legislation will be discussed during the next stow city council meeting this Thursday.

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