DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Gov. Mike DeWine is answering the call for better school bus safety.
The group he formed to come up with solutions wrapped up its first meeting Monday afternoon.
Their mission is to make recommendations to make buses safer for kids after an 11-year-old boy died in a crash on his way to the first day of school.
That crash in Clark County has forced Ohio to reevaluate the safety of kids who ride the bus, and Monday was only the beginning for the school bus safety working group. They have four more meetings planned.
The team began with getting familiar with the process of becoming a school bus driver and current safety protocol before they start to make recommendations.
“We have an obligation, I think, to be able to say to the public, we are doing everything that we can to make that school bus trip as safe as possible,” DeWine said.
Of all the students enrolled in Ohio public schools, 44 percent ride a bus to school. There are over 14,000 buses active on the roads daily.
Rudy Breglia, who founded the School Bus Seat Belt Safety Alliance, observed day one and said she feels strongly that the state should require seat belts on school busses.
Breglia said the National Transportation Safety Board recommends safety belts, and that just having padded seats is not good enough.
“If you don’t have restraints on you, and you were in a crash, you just fly off like an unguided missile, and you’re going to hit things,” Breglia said. “It doesn’t consider rollovers or side crashes, which is exactly what happened in the crash in Clark County.”
The panel will cover seat belts at a later date as the state’s working group works through all the aspects school bus safety.
The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 25 at 2 p.m. Viewers will be able to watch the meeting on a livestream.