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Enhanced Safety for School Crossings Passes House (Fl H 493)

Seventy-two-year-old David Roundtree was described as a “people person” by his daughter, according to a report published in June by Channel 8 News. Mr. Roundtree was a member of the Mighty Sons of Zion gospel group in the church where he grew up in Georgia and he loved singing. The interview his daughter gave Channel 8 news paints a picture of an endearing man with lots of smiles, a good nature, and love for people. He was also a crossing guard.

School crossings can be dangerous places without the people whose job it is to guard kids while they cross the streets. On November 9, 2016, the crosswalk at which Mr. Roundtree was working proved deadly. According to the interview with his daughter, he was struck from behind by a car and never knew what happened.

House Bill 493

Governor Rick Scott signed Florida House Bill 493, the Enhanced Safety for School Crossings, into law this past June. The Florida Department of Transportation now has the charge of studying the feasibility of designing a system to designate safe school crossings throughout Florida. The department will also examine the cost of developing the system. This law for safer school crossings went into effect on July 1st of this year.

The Dangers of School Crossings

People automatically feel safe when walking in a marked crosswalk. Here the pedestrian has the right of way and may not take time to be diligent about watching for cars. When a crosswalk is unmetered and there are no signs directing when to walk, the intersection becomes a serious hazard, particularly when there are more than two lanes of traffic. That false sense of security could turn fatal.

Studies have been conducted since 1972 to determine the safety of marked versus unmarked crosswalks. As illogical as it may seem, these studies have concluded that in many cases unmarked crosswalks were actually safer than marked crosswalks. In one such study over 400 pedestrian accidents were investigated during a five-year period. Researchers discovered that twice as many pedestrian accidents occurred in the marked crosswalks as compared to unmarked crosswalks.

The Federal Highway Administration conducted a study and analyzed data in 2002. The results were revealed in the report, “Safety Effects of Marked Versus Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Intersections.” The recommendation was that a marked crosswalk should not be used if there are four or more lanes of traffic, a raised median, and the intersection sees an average of 15,000 vehicles a day.

Trained adult crossing guards at such intersections are a must where school children are concerned. At the same time, those crossing guards need protection. Such is the hope of Mr. Roundtree’s daughter, Carrie Roundtree-Sanders. She sees House Bill 493 as a good first step toward leading to safer school crossings for children and the adults whose job it is to get them safely across the intersection.

Making School Crossings Safer for All

With the passing of this bill, studies will be carried out state-wide to put a uniform system in place to make school crossings safer for everyone, including the crossing guards. What the system will actually look like has yet to be determined. The end result hopefully will be fewer pedestrian accidents in these areas.

Wrongful death in any situation has lasting effects on family members that ripple down through the years. Serious injuries have the same consequences but in different ways. It’s at times like these when you need a caring attorney to stand beside you and help you navigate the legalities of the situation. The attorneys at Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. provide the support and expertise you need in such devastating times. Reach out to us when you need an attorney who cares.

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