The City of Madison Police Department Crossing Guard program has seen a 25% increase in the number of tickets written so far this school year over the same time period last year.
These $88.80 tickets are issued to owners of vehicles observed to have not stopped, remain stopped, or stopped too close to our adult school crossing guards. These adults give their time each day to serve and protect the school children and their families in our community.
This increase in tickets are be due in large part to two primary factors:
1. Lack of education in school zone driving behaviors. State Statute 346.465(2m) states the following:
"Every operator of a motor vehicle approaching a school crossing which is controlled by an adult school crossing guard appointed under s. 120.13 (31) or 349.215 shall follow the directions of the school crossing guard. If directed by the school crossing guard to stop, the operator shall stop the vehicle not less than 10 feet nor more than 30 feet from the school crossing and shall remain stopped until the school crossing guard directs the operator to proceed."
When an Adult School Crossing Guard steps into the street with their stop sign raised, this is the direction for drivers to stop. Drivers should stop no closer than 10 feet from the school crossing and shall remain stopped until the school crossing guard directs the operator to proceed. Crossing guards in Madison are trained to display their stop sign above their head until they reach the curb and then lower the sign once they and their students are safely off the street. The dropping of the stop sign when the guard reaches the curb is the direction for drivers to proceed. No driver should proceed through or turn into a crosswalk that is being guarded by an adult school crossing guard with their stop sign raised.
Often, drivers will wave and smile at the adult crossing guards even as the driver is pulling through the crosswalk, within feet of the crossing guard, while students are waiting to or in the process of crossing the street.
2. Inattentiveness while driving:
Crossing guards and pedestrians at school crossings regularly report seeing drivers who are talking on cell phones, texting, eating, reading, flossing their teeth, or one of many other distractions which prevent them from being fully engaged and alert while driving through school zones.
The Madison Police Department appreciates the cooperation of the community in keeping our school children and our adult school crossing guards safe from harm. We ask that every driver in our community pay particular attention to the directions of our school crossing guards, be more attentive and slow down in our school zones and be more alert to all unsafe driving behaviors.
Patti Knoche - Crossing Guard Supervisor