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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine visits Mentor to address school bus safety: 'Buses are the safest form of transportation for our kids'

His visit comes after the newly formed Ohio School Bus Safety Working Group was created following a deadly school bus crash in Clark County.

MENTOR, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine made a stop in Northeast Ohio today at the Mentor Public School District’s bus garage “to meet with inspectors from the Ohio State Highway Patrol and observe the school bus inspection process.”

During the visit, DeWine met with officials from the Ohio State Highway Patrol to learn about the inspection process that school buses go through ahead of the school year. 

This comes after Gov. DeWine announced the creation of a newly formed Ohio School Bus Safety Working Group last week, which was launched after an 11-year-old boy was killed in a Clark County crash in which another vehicle collided with a school bus. The incident, which also left more than 20 other students hurt, has created a renewed interest in school bus safety with some calling for seat belts to be required.

“Buses are the safest form of transportation for our kids. We had a horrible horrible tragedy in Clark County last week. An unspeakable tragedy for the school and family. Fran and I have talked to both of the parents, and it is a horrible horrible thing,” said Gov. DeWine.  

DeWine's full visit can be watched below: 

Gov. DeWine announced on Wednesday, the 13 individuals who will serve on his newly formed Ohio School Bus Safety Working Group: 

  • Andy Wilson (Chair): Director, Ohio Department of Public Safety
  • Carolyn Everidge-Frey: Senior Executive Director, Center for Advancing Professional Supports,
    Ohio Department of Education 
  • Dean Fadel: President, Ohio Insurance Institute
  • Judith French: Director, Ohio Department of Insurance
  • Paul Imhoff: Director of Government Relations, Buckeye Association of School Administrators
  • Col. Charles Jones: Superintendent, Ohio State Highway Patrol
  • Jack Marchbanks: Director, Ohio Department of Transportation
  • Jessica Mead: Parent
  • Erin Reed: Assistant Policy Director, Office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine
  • David Russell: School Bus Driver, South Euclid Lyndhurst School District
  • Robert Widener: President, Ohio School Bus Mechanics Association
  • Chris Woolard: Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio Department of Education 
  • Jingzhen Yang, MPH, PhD: Principal Investigator, Center for Injury Research & Policy, Abigail Wexner Research Institute, Nationwide Children's Hospital

"There is always more that can be done when it comes to the safety of children, and I believe we have an obligation to take a holistic look at the safety of our school buses," said Gov. DeWine. "This group's review will be thorough, focusing on many different aspects of transportation safety."

The Ohio School Bus Safety Working Group is expected to look into the following topics: 

  • School bus regulations
  • School bus design, maintenance, and inspections
  • Driver licensing, certification, and training
  • School bus safety technology
  • Crash risk factors
  • Lessons learned from other school bus crashes
  • Alternative transportation and associated risks
  • School bus seat belts
  • Safety of special populations
  • Critical incident protocol

The task force is also going to look at the shortage of bus drivers that Northeast Ohio is experiencing. 

“I think that every school is concerned about making sure they have enough bus drivers. Their margin of error is getting thin, and some schools have told me that their backup drivers and alternate drivers are collapsing in numbers… This working group can look at this issue as well," Gov. DeWine told 3News' Danielle Wiggins 

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“Ohio’s more than 19,200 school buses are inspected at least twice a year on more than 180 points to ensure that they are safe to transport children,” according to Gov. DeWine’s office.



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