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Police: More Madison drivers defying crosswalk rules

MPD handing out 25 percent more tickets than last fall

MADISON, Wis. - Police: More Madison drivers defying crosswalk rules

The Madison Police Department has seen a spike in tickets given to drivers for disobeying crosswalk rules this fall.

According to statistics from the crossing guard program, the number of tickets has gone up 25 percent since this time last year. Those tickets are for drivers who didn't stop or remain stopped when a crossing guard was in the crosswalk, or for those drivers who stopped too close to a guard.

Each ticket brings a $88.80 fine.

"For some reason, it's been a very busy fall writing tickets," crossing guard John Englesby said.

John Englesby has seen some of those dangerous situations in just the past few days. His crossing guard colleague on Whitney Way was almost hit by a car stopping traffic after school.

Luckily, they caught that woman's license plate number, but Englesby said someone could have been hurt.

"That was the worst, most blatant violation I've ever seen in six years," Englesby said.

Like the city, Englesby blames people not knowing about the rules and distracted driving for the influx in tickets.

"They're drinking coffee. They're eating. They're on their cellphones. They're texting," Englesby said. "Plenty of indications that they're not paying attention."

Englesby said most people don't realize how dangerous the job can be, and he said while many parents appreciate what he does, many drivers don't.

"There are people who honk and wave or gesture obscenely, swear at us," Englesby said. "Oh yes, that happens."

Under state law, drivers must stop at least 10 feet from a school crossing when a crossing guard is leading children across the street.

Drivers are only allowed to go across the crosswalk when the crossing guard reaches the curb and lowers the stop sign, or when the crossing guard signals to the driver that it is safe to keep driving.

"Our first job is to cross the kids safely, not to keep the traffic moving," Englesby said.

Englesby pointed out in most school zones, the speed limit drops to 20 miles per hour.

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