AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Both an Austintown Local Schools bus driver and the district’s transportation director will have some hefty fines to pay after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers stopped a bus Thursday afternoon.
It happened as the bus was leaving the Austintown school campus on Raccoon Road. Troopers had received a complaint from a parent that students were not sitting properly on the bus.
Although the vehicle was capable of seating up to 71 passengers, it was the way the students were sitting that caused a problem. When the bus was stopped, a trooper discovered a half dozen students who were only partially seated and leaning out into the aisle, which is considered overloaded under Ohio law.
“The bus driver is the disciplinarian for that bus. He needs to look and see if it’s overcrowded and he needs to make a decision whether ‘if it’s too many people, I need to call for another bus or if it’s a situation where I can move kids around so they can fit within the framework of the seat,” said Lt. Marvin Hill of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Hill said there were only 58 students on the bus.
Under state law, bus passengers need to be fully seated and facing forward when the bus is in motion and not leaning or hanging out in the aisle. Troopers said both the bus driver and the transportation director were given citations following the incident, each carrying fines of about $180.