The Ohio Association for Pupil Transportation (OAPT) recently launched an education program featuring a specialty license plate that reminds motorists to stop for a loading or unloading school bus’ flashing red lights and stop arm.
Jeff Vrabel, Sr. is a past president of OAPT, and currently serves as chairman of the State and National Associations Council for the National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services as well as a representative for the Ohio Association of School Business Officials. In an article he wrote for the June issue of the SBO Quarterly magazine, he said OAPT “works very hard [in] educating the public in pupil transportation rules and safety practices.”
To that end, said Vrabel, OAPT launched the program to remind motorists to stop for school buses that have pulled over to pick up or unload children, part of which includes the new specialty license plate available through the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. State Rep. John Boccieri introduced the concept in House Bill 26, and it came to fruition in Senate Bill 207, which was signed into law last December. The license plate became available in May 2017.
The plate includes an illustrated image of a school bus, with the words “Flashing Red” above it and “Stop Ahead” underneath, underscoring the importance of stopping any time a school bus has its flashing red lights on. At the bottom it reads “Ohio Pupil Transportation…Safety First!!!”
“We thought that was a good way to educate the public,” Vrabel told STN.
Motorists who want the specialty plate pay $20 a year. SB 207 allocates $10 to the state and $10 to OAPT, "which shall use the money to support transportation programs, provide training to school transportation professionals, and support other initiatives for school transportation safety,” the law states.
Vrabel informed STN that the contributions OAPT receives from the sale of the “Ohio Pupil Transportation…Safety First!!!” license plates will be used “for continuing education for transportation supervisors,” which could include items such as education from NASDPTS or the National Association for Pupil Transportation as well as conference scholarships and video or printed training materials.