In October 2011 a school crossing guard working near Western Branch Primary School in Chesapeake, Virginia (VA), was struck by a vehicle and later passed away at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The 35-year-old victim, Lovette Person, had been working as a school crossing guard for just over a year. The accident, which occurred at 7:30 am, may have been caused by glare from the sun preventing the driver of the truck from being able to see. There is no evidence that speeding, alcohol or texting played a role in the accident.
Tragic accidents like these highlight the need to for drivers and pedestrians alike to exercise caution in school zones. School crossing guards are a crucial part of making sure that our children get to school safely, and their job is not an easy or safe one. Crossing guards are the first to step off the curb and make sure that traffic is stopping before children step out into the street. In the process, they are also teaching young students pedestrian safety skills that apply everywhere.
But safety in school zones is not just the responsibility of the crossing guard—it is the responsibility of all of us. So make sure that you follow some basic safe driving practices when you are traveling through school zones or residential areas where students are traveling to and from school:
- Obey signs and signals within school zones. This means slowing down when school zone speed limits are in effect. It also means obeying flashing lights that tell you to yield to pedestrians.
- Obey crossing guards and school patrol officers. Stop when directed to do so and wait until the officer or guard signals that it is okay to proceed.
- Be alert. Children are unpredictable and may not practice safe behavior when leaving the school, crossing streets, or waiting for transportation. Slow down and be ready to stop quickly.
About the Editors: The Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.