Tecumseh Transportation Director Teddy Kidney (left) says that working with law enforcement to crack down on illegal school bus passing has significantly raised awareness in the community. He is pictured with Trey Baker of the Tecumseh Police Department.
TECUMSEH, Okla. — When Teddy Kidney sought the local police department's help in cracking down on stop-arm running, he didn't need to convince Chief Gary Crosby of the problem — the police leader also serves as a school bus driver.
Crosby, who has been driving morning routes and activity trips for Tecumseh Public Schools for about eight years, has firsthand experience with motorists illegally passing a school bus.
"It has happened to him several times," Kidney, the district's transportation director, told SBF. The police chief was "more than happy," Kidney said, to have his officers target stop-arm scofflaws.
Throughout the 2011-12 school year, Tecumseh cops staked out various school bus stops, watching for illegal passers. Kidney said that they issued close to 25 citations during the year — 13 of which were at one "hot spot" bus stop.
"We've finally gotten this community gun-shy of running red lights on buses now," said Kidney, who oversees a fleet of 21 route buses and eight activity buses.
Also helping in the effort is a recent change in Oklahoma law that allows for a one-year suspension of a driver's license for a first offense of stop-arm running.
Kidney said that the authorities in Tecumseh, a town of about 6,500, have been lenient on suspensions, but the citations still carry a fine of about $250.
"That will wake you up a bit," he said.
With the new school year, which kicked off on Thursday for Tecumseh Public Schools, the police department will again check in on hot spots for stop-arm enforcement.
"They're going to follow up on it this year," Kidney said. "We'll stay at it until we can get this problem solved."
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