Students from St. Patrick Catholic School and Stryker Local Schools will lead off the county’s kids in going back to school this week, and with eight crashes involving school buses having occurred in Williams County in the past two years, law enforcement is advising caution.

Over the same time period, more than 3,950 such crashes took place statewide, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, including eight in Fulton County, 12 in Defiance County, and one in Henry County.

While crashes were down the first months of 2019 compared to three-year averages, OSHP noted that there have been three fatalities in school bus accidents so far in 2019, compared to four total from 2016 to 2018.

“Motorists approaching from either direction should remember they are required to stop at least 10 feet back from buses displaying red flashing lights and an extended stop arm,” stated a news release from OSHP Van Wert Post Commander Lt. Jonathon Gray. “Drivers may not resume driving until the school bus begins moving. From 2016-18, OSHP troopers wrote 1,803 citations for violations of this law.”

Each bus is required to be inspected at the beginning of the school year and once randomly during the year. OSHP performed 121,876 inspections from 2016-18, an average of 40,625 per year.

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