What is the most dangerous job in the Princeton area? Cop? Firefighter? More likely the title belongs to the humble school crossing guard. Every morning, these people step quite literally in harm’s way in an attempt to enforce safe routes to school for local kids. But make no mistake, this is a dangerous job.
A recent letter to the editor in ‘Town Topics’ expressed outrage that drivers routinely blow past crossing guards, refusing to stop, despite law an any sense of road safety. In Princeton, it is sadly all to common to disregard road safety laws. Speeding, failure to make full stops at stop signs, and risky turns are everyday occurrences. It is very doubtful that enforcement is sufficient. Princeton’s police issue more summonses for driving unregistered vehicles than they do for speeding, despite the fact that speeding is an obvious, clearly visible act that goes unpunished every day.
Locally, crossing guards are regularly knocked over and injured while doing their jobs. In the last 15 years, four crossing guards have been struck on route 206 in Lawrence township- a busy commuter route into Princeton. Who would do a job with such a high casualty rate? And at what point can our over-dependence on driving be considered incompatible with occupational health and safety? Let’s make 2014 a year where crossing guards can do their jobs without fear of death. Let’s aim to prioritize walkability, safe driving, and proper enforcement of road safety laws.
What do you think could be done to minimize danger for school crossing guards and the kids they protect? Do you have a good idea for a New Year’s resolution for Princeton? Let us know in the comments below.