ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (WJW) – After a tragic traffic accident that killed one student near Dayton, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and AAA are combining efforts to provide tips to motorists to prevent school zone or pedestrian related crashes.
“The safety of the students riding to and from school, as well as to school sanctioned events is our top priority,” OSHP Sergeant Bridget Matt said.
Matt and the Tiffany Stanley of AAA are calling on motorists to do their part to make sure students stay safe.
“We need to make sure as motorists we’re taking our students safety into our own hands,” Stanley said. “So, it really is the motorist’s responsibility to make sure that we are keeping our children’s lives safe.”
There have been more than 6,089 traffic crashes involving school buses since 2018 according to OSHP. Troopers have also written more than 16,000 citations for drivers passing a stopped school bus and other violations during that same period.
And just last year, 2,421 pedestrian related crashes occurred in Ohio, 64 were fatal according to AAA. Cuyahoga County has the second-highest number of such crashes during that timeframe, including 21 deaths.
Matt said it’s imperative that motorists abide by all traffic laws, flashing lights on buses and marked signs in school zones.
“Remain vigilant when approaching any marked crosswalks for children that may be crossing with or without the assistance of a crossing guard,” Matt said.
To safely transition back to the classroom, students at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic School in Rocky River practiced safe crossing with the help of student crossing guards.
Principal Matt Falk said Rocky River Drive is very busy and motorists often speed, even during school hours.
“We have called the Police Department out here on numerous occasions just to be a presence so that drivers see the police car and their just reminded to be safe in school zones,” Falk said. “So yes, it’s definitely an issue.”
AAA and OSHP both believe pedestrian related crashes are preventable, and one of the best tips to stop them from happening is limiting distractions, particularly cell phones while on the road.
“Especially at those peak times, when school buses are on the road and children are going to be crossing the street to get to and from school safely,” Matt said.
AAA is also offering tips to pedestrians as well. It urges people to be visible by staying in well-lit areas, avoiding distractions themselves when crossing, follow traffic rules, signs, and signals and to walk in safe places.