Keeping school children safe around school zones

Tuesday, August 20th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police say you wouldn't believe how some drivers act in school zones. They don't slow down and they zoom past school buses that are picking up students.

News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright rode a Union School bus recently to see the problem first-hand and says officers and school bus drivers all had horror stories to share about drivers on busy streets, not adjusting to the start of school. But, when the camera was rolling, most people behaved themselves.

These people are a precious commodity, they can be chatterboxes who don't always heed a parent's warnings, and they sometimes get distracted or don't pay attention. That's why keeping them safe on their way to school and back is not their job, it's ours, all of us who drive. Bill Creel, Union School bus driver: "I have actually had drivers drive through a group of kids, coming from side street and drive right through the middle of them, very, very scary."

That's why Tulsa Police’s south side traffic squad has its eyes peeled for drivers who don't drive 25 in school zones or try to slide past a bus putting out its stop sign, like this red truck. Tulsa Police officer Sgt Rick Bondy, “I counted six cars going past a school bus at one time." Some folks have a hard time remembering that school is now in session. Maybe some don't know that every time a bus puts out a stop sign and has lights flashing, drivers in both directions must stop unless there's a center median. "I know we're all busy, but, we have 30 seconds to stop, so, kids can get on the school bus safely."

Anyone who gets a ticket for not stopping for a school bus has to make a mandatory court appearance and this isn't the type of violation judges are very happy to see.

This lesson will soon apply to even more drivers, as Tulsa gets ready to start school in two weeks. Rest assured, police officers will be monitoring these school zones, heavily, too.