Distracted drivers put crossing guards, children at risk

Citations for not yielding to crossing guards up 70 percent
Distracted drivers put crossing guards, children at risk

The crosswalk is supposed to be a safety zone for children and crossing guards, but a new report shows walking across the street is becoming increasingly dangerous for pedestrians in Madison.

“I had just turned to head back to the curb and a car assumed that I was finished and they just accelerated and came right through,” said Mark Evans, a Madison crossing guard.

It’s an all-too-familiar close call for Evans and other crossing guards in Madison, with crossing guards at some intersections in the city at times reporting two drivers breaking the law in one hour-and-a-half shift.

So far this year, 256 citations for failure to yield to adult school crossing guards have been issued. Those numbers are 70 percent higher than the 151 citations given the same time last year.

On Wednesday the city of Madison website reflected that drivers face a $88.80 fine if cited. However, MPD Crossing Guard Supervisor Patti Knoche told News 3 Thursday morning that the fee is higher, $98.80.

Failure to yield to crossing guards is an issue that’s been growing over the years. In 2013, the Madison Police Department reported a 25 percent increase in citations given from the beginning of 2013 to the fall.

“You would think people would be very attentive to the fact that there are children out, be careful. They should be attentive to that anyway,” Evans said.

Increased citations are a result of higher traffic and increased driver inattentiveness, Knoche said. By law, drivers are required to stop no less than 10 feet away from a crosswalk when a crossing guard has stopped traffic. Drivers must wait until the guard signals them to proceed.

Evans said he will not hesitate to report license plate numbers to the police. He has only has one goal in mind, and that is to protect every kid who crosses his path.

“I wish every person would think about the fact that when they are driving the future of the world may depend on the decisions they make,” he said.