COLUMBUS, Ohio — License plates are often used to identify motorists who illegally pass school buses, but now a special license plate in Ohio aims to help prevent those illegal passes.
The new license plate displays an illustration of a school bus with its red lights activated, along with the words “Flashing Red — Stop Ahead” and “Ohio Pupil Transportation … Safety First.”
Jeff Vrabel, past president of the Ohio Association for Pupil Transportation (OAPT), said that OAPT has been advocating for the license plate idea for several years. State Rep. John Boccieri worked with the association to gain approval for the concept. That came via Senate Bill 207, which was passed in December and went into effect April 6.
Ohio vehicle owners can get the school bus safety license plate, which became available in early May, for an annual fee of $20 through the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. OAPT gets $10 from each plate "to support transportation programs, provide training to school transportation professionals, and support other initiatives for school transportation safety," the legislation stipulates.
Vrabel noted that the license plates themselves will also help promote school bus safety on Ohio's roads.
“The more license plates that are purchased, the more the message of stopping for a stopped school bus gets out,” he said.
Idaho launched a similar school bus safety license plate program in 2004.