School zones and bus safety: Police offer safety tips to drivers as students return to class

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

As students throughout Shawnee and Pottawatomie County head back to school this month, drivers are reminded to be aware of speeds in school zones and to properly stop for school buses.

According to Shawnee Police Department Cpl. Vivian Lozano, there will be officers and extra patrols around school speed zones.

Drivers are encouraged to drive 25 miles per hour and must stop when a bus picks up and drops off students in and around neighborhoods, she said.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, failure to stop for a bus loading or unloading children can result in driver license revocation, upon conviction.

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Drivers are encouraged to stop for school buses.

The first offense is one year without a license, and if within five years following the revocation a driver fails to stop again, he or she can lose their license for three years.

To get their license back, drivers must surrender any type of license or permit to DPS, serve the one to three years of license revocation and pay fees in the amount of $300 to DPS.

Lozano said drivers also need to be sure to slow down for school zones. In addition to extra patrols, the Shawnee Police Department's speed trailer will be placed in random zones throughout the city to help monitor traffic.

Tecumseh Police Chief J.R. Kidney also reminds drivers to be aware of the flashing school zone lights.

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"We are already seeing activity around the schools as the kids are starting sports and getting schedules," Kidney said. "Please slow down, watch for the kids in the school zones and let's have a safe year."

He explained there will be a zero tolerance in Tecumseh school zones.

"Most of the officers have zero tolerance in the school zone. Treat these school zones the way you would want others to drive if your kids were in the school zones," Kidney said.

In addition to drivers, the chief also advises pedestrians to be aware of cars when walking or biking to school.

"Please stay on the sidewalks and use the crosswalks," he said. "They are there for your safety."

Everyone is encouraged to be safe throughout the first day of school and as the 2021-2022 school year begins.