Letter: Prepare to stop for school buses

Though I can’t speak for all school bus drivers, I believe most will agree with what follows.

The vast majority of drivers extend us every courtesy and to you we say “thank you!”

When we look up in the mirror and see our students faces, we know they are precious and irreplaceable. We take a deep breath at the end of the day, grateful for their safety and ours. Ohio state law is clear that drivers don’t have to stop when our yellow warning lights are on, but know this: We turn on our “yellows” 100- to 300-feet from our stop. On state routes our bus and your car are approaching each other at a combined speed of 40- to 60-miles per hour. Do the math on how much time you have when you see our yellows until we activate our “reds” (and we don’t activate our reds until we are fully stopped).

I counted during a recent week of driving and found our approaching speeds give you 5 to 6 seconds to process what you’re going to do next. Add darkness, light fog, snow, rain, heavy traffic, narrow backroads, a sick child or a disciplinary problem; us watching 40 to 60 children, checking 3 primary mirrors (we have 7 total), and it’s easy to see how fast things happen.

When you see us slowing down and preparing to stop it’s because in a few seconds we’ll be picking up more precious cargo – maybe yours.

Mark Bayliff

Bath Local Schools


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