National School Bus Safety Week takes on personal meaning for Columbus family

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Monday is the start of National School Bus Safety Week.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding people about it and so is one local family.

Last month, 11-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzie” Robertson Rutland was hit and killed as she was walking to her bus stop.

Whether it’s driving around school buses or children walking, her family wants drivers to pay more attention.

The memorial is present on McNaughten Road, where Lizzie was struck Sept. 18.

Her great-grandmother said because of what happened, she’s going to be even more passionate about School Bus Safety Week.

“Every day, every day,” said Lizzie’s great-grandmother Sharon Robertson.

School bus safety is something she thinks about a lot.

“I have become more passionate because I never really realized how unsafe it really is,” Robertson said.

Her great-granddaughter was walking to her bus stop along McNaughton Road early in the morning when she was hit and killed.

“Of course, mine is on a personal level, but it’s not just for my child, it’s for all the children,” Robertson said.

She wants drivers to be extra mindful of children who may be walking to and from bus stops. In addition to recognizing National School Bus Safety Week, the National Association for Pupil Transportation offers tips for when students are walking to bus stops.

A big focus of the week is making sure drivers don’t pass school buses illegally. Robertson said she’s seen that problem, too.

“I have watched them do it right here, not even doing anything scientific, just standing out here watching,” she said.

A bill that’s been introduced at the Ohio Statehouse would create steeper penalties for illegally passing a school bus. Whether it’s about driving around school buses or walking to them, it’s an issue Robertson is now committed to.

“So that Lizzie’s life will not be in vain,” she said.

When a school bus stops on a four-lane road, cars behind the bus have to stop but cars traveling in the opposite direction do not. On two-lane roads, all lanes have to stop when the bus has its flashing lights on and stop arm out.

Although the focus of the week is about making sure drivers don’t illegally pass school buses, the National Association for Pupil Transportation offers tips for when kids are walking to bus stops

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