Common sense should tell drivers to slow down in front of schools

Henrietta Wilson helps Foster Elementary School students cross the street last week. Even the kids can see when a driver is speeding — so why is it so hard for the adults to do the right thing?

EVE EDELHEIT | Times

Henrietta Wilson helps Foster Elementary School students cross the street last week. Even the kids can see when a driver is speeding — so why is it so hard for the adults to do the right thing?

Every morning as I stand on the corner waiting to walk my son across the street to his elementary school, I see the same thing.

Cars speed and weave through traffic, and some drivers impatiently honk their horns. It's as if the flashing yellow lights indicating a 20 mph speed limit school zone aren't even there.

It'd be one thing if this were an occasional occurrence, but it happens every single day.

As we stand holding our children's hands, my friends and I grow upset about what we see. Some cars drive by at twice the speed limit, and others swerve recklessly to avoid the standstill traffic in the right lane. The parents aren't the only ones who take notice. The kids will point out the excessive speed of certain cars.

When drivers don't obey the law, we send a bad message to our kids. Since this is an elementary school, no child crosses the street without a parent, but this isn't the case with middle and high school students.

With the recent news of a car striking and killing a Middleton High School student and injuring her sister, you would think that drivers would be extra cautious near schools.

Unfortunately, some people are in such a hurry that they ignore traffic signs and speed limits and put kids' safety at risk.

While drivers need to heed traffic laws, parents also need to teach kids proper safety rules.

As parents, we know it's important that children understand the rules of the road. I remember having a police officer come to our elementary school when I was a young girl and talk to us about safety. She told us to look both ways before crossing the street, and to pay attention to the crosswalk signals. It may sound simple, but these are important life-saving lessons for kids.

Today, the University of South Florida's Center for Urban Transportation Research offers an expert who can come to your school and talk about its "Walk Wise" program.

The Tampa Bay area is notorious for heavy traffic and roads constantly under construction. This can lead to a longer morning commute, which causes drivers to become frustrated. Sadly, this is evident every day in front of my son's elementary school.

Maybe if they took a minute during the rush and thought about how the pedestrian rate in Florida is twice the national average, people would be patient, use common sense, and slow down.

Children shouldn't be at risk walking to school.

Common sense should tell drivers to slow down in front of schools 04/09/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:42pm]

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