• 45°

Highway Patrol watches drivers

Drivers might see a few more Ohio Highway Patrol cruisers traveling the highways in the early mornings and afternoons as students head back to school.

Wednesday, September 01, 1999

Drivers might see a few more Ohio Highway Patrol cruisers traveling the highways in the early mornings and afternoons as students head back to school.

The local post increased patrols by about 25 percent this past week to increase awareness about safe driving while school is in, Sgt. Mike Gore said.

"With school starting back, we wanted to increase patrols a little bit," Gore said. "You’ve got young drivers that sometimes don’t pay too much attention to what they do. Sometimes, they can get a little rambunctious and speed a little more than they should. It could result in crashes that could go anywhere from a minor injury to a fatality. We decided to take a proactive stance."

Troopers have been monitoring motorists driving through school speed zones during the morning hours, while concentrating on the young drivers in the afternoons, Gore said.

"The violations differ," he said. "There’s speeding and some other moving violations we are watching for. We’re watching for reckless operation. We’re watching to make sure they don’t do anything to endanger themselves or someone else."

One violation that is always taken very seriously, however, is the passing of stopped school buses, Gore said.

"School bus safety is an ongoing thing with the Highway Patrol," he said. "We have a process where people call in complaints of people passing the school buses and we assign an officer to the complaint immediately."

Most drivers, when they approach a school bus that is preparing to stop, get the urge to pass it. Gore said it is almost like the urge to beat the red light.

But passing a school bus could result in a serious tragedy, he added.

"You don’t know when a child will walk out from behind a bus," Gore said. "Kids can’t see anything coming around that side. And when kids walk around the front of the bus, they are operating under the assumption that cars behind the bus will stay behind the bus. And, oftentimes, kids won’t even look. If you have someone passing the bus, you can draw your own conclusion."

Although the concentrated enforcement will soon end, another will start up soon, Gore added.

"We just had a concentrated enforcement here for the beginning of school and there will be another concentrated enforcement for the upcoming Labor Day holiday," he said.