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Drivers still ignoring bus traffic laws in Northeast Ohio

During bus safety week, officials say drivers still need a lesson in good driving

CLEVELAND — Parents should know better but they and other drivers still get thousands of tickets a year for not obeying traffic laws in and around school zones.

Statistics from the Ohio Highway Patrol show that 2,100 tickets have been handed to drivers already this year for traffic violations near buses and in school zones.

Ignoring such laws can have heartbreaking consequences. Earlier this year, two children in Willowick were hit by a car passing a bus.

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That’s why schools and communities here and across the country are dedicating this week to reminding drivers about bus safety.

Every day in Ohio 800,000 children hop on a bus to school. These students are 70 times more likely to get to school safely on the bus than in a car, according to the American School Bus Council.

RELATED: Video: Girl nearly hit by car while getting off school bus in Bedford

RELATED: Ohio bill proposes harsher penalties for drivers who pass stopped school buses

But officials say drivers are still a danger to bus riders.

“The most common violation involving a motorist and a bus is running their stop signs, when the red flashing lights are activated and the stop sign is out,” says Stark County Deputy Dominic Antenoro, who shadows morning bus routes in South Canton looking for violators.

He said running a school bus stop sign is an automatic trip to court.

Antenoro said he sees more violations in the morning, when drivers put getting to work on time ahead of kids getting to school safely.

This reality has Northeast Ohio cities, including Avon, rewriting laws to toughen penalties – including jail -- for drivers who ignore school bus traffic laws. Parma and Mayfield Heights are also considering similar changes.

RELATED: Avon Lake enacts stricter penalties for illegally passing a stopped school bus

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“There are always a lot of excuses out there,” Antenoro said.

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