COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – As Ohioans wait to learn more details about Tuesday’s bus crash that killed six people, the governor’s school bus safety working group met on Thursday to find ways to keep kids safer on the road.
Director of the Department of Public Safety Andy Wilson started the meeting with remarks about the crash.
“It’s a trauma that will alter that community forever,” Wilson said.
Wilson said there are two parallel investigations going on right now; he has no timeline about when those will be done.
“Although they are parallel, they’re not on the same timeline,” Wilson said. “We’re going to do them right, it’s more important for us to do them right and work on quality in the investigation as opposed to speeding them through to try and get some sort of result.”
While he said they don’t know all the details yet; they will consider different safety measures that can be taken in the meantime. Wilson said the school bus safety working group won’t directly shift to charter bus safety, but some of the planned topics, like critical response, will apply.
“We have the notification, reunification, you have the emotional support of the community,” Wilson said. “Those are the things we already planned on looking at in this last meeting in December and clearly there’s overlap there.”
Wilson also noted that many colleges and universities across the state have guidelines they consider before booking a charter bus service, like whether they consider driver fatigue when scheduling.
“We’re going to tap into some of that information and we are going to make that available, as part of this working group, to schools that may use charter buses,” Wilson said. “We want them to have the best practices and the best information that is out there with respect to whatever manner they’re going to transport their kids in.”
Wilson said it is too early to tell what exactly needs to be done, especially in terms of legislation.
At the Statehouse, leaders said they’re heartbroken and want to look at what they can do once they have more details.
“Getting the investigation, what exactly happened, why, those kinds of things,” Speaker of the Ohio House Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) said. “But these things are so tragic.”
The group’s final meeting is Dec. 1 and they will have recommendations by the end of the year.