Crossing Guard Safety Becomes an issue in Waterloo Region
A crossing guard was struck in a hit and run accident last week and is in serious condition, another crossing guard was also struck last year on Westmount road.
In both cases the guards were fortunate to avoid being killed.
In the latest case police are looking for an F150 truck that struck a 55-year-old crossing guard near Cedarbrae Public School in Waterloo in the afternoon. Witnesses reported hearing a loud noise and seeing the crossing guard down on the road while the truck backed up down a street, cut across a residential lot, hitting garbage cans and then driving away. Police have reports of the truck being dark coloured wit a ‘Browning” sticker on the front windshield and damage to the front end.
They also have a description of the driver who has dark hair and a dark beard.
There is no excuse other than inattention for hitting a crossing guard on the road. They are required to wear Hi-Viz clothing and hold a large stop sign. Crossing guards work in school zones. Both accidents occurred in daylight hours.
In both accidents there were children in the vicinity, and it is lucky that more people weren’t injured by the vehicles.
Since 2016, in Ontario drivers and cyclists must now stop and yield the whole pedestrian crossover until the person is completely off the roadway at school crossings were a crossing guard holding a stop sign is present. Under the law both cyclists and pedestrians can be fined $150-$500 and assigned three demerit points for offences at school crossings.
The laws were updated in response to pedestrian safety recommendations made by the Chief Coroner, safety organizations and municipalities.
Police are requesting that if you have information about this accident or dashcam footage to contact them at 519-570-9777 ext. 8856 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
According to the MTO website:
Driving laws for pedestrian crossovers and school crossings
Drivers - including cyclists - must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard. Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk can drivers and cyclists proceed.
A school crossing is any pedestrian crossing where a school crossing guard is present and displaying a school crossing stop sign.
Pedestrian crossovers are identified by specific signs, pavement markings and lights. Some have illuminated overhead lights/warning signs and pedestrian push buttons. There are four types of pedestrian crossovers in Ontario.
This law does not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is present.
A crosswalk is a crossing location usually found at intersections with traffic signals, pedestrian signals or stop signs. A crosswalk can be:
· the portion of a roadway that connects sidewalks on opposite sides of the roadway into a continuous path; or,
· the portion of a roadway that is indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs, lines or other markings on the surface of the roadway at any location, including an intersection.
Penalties for drivers who endanger pedestrians increased September 1, 2018. This includes higher fines and more demerit points for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians at crossovers, school crossings and crosswalks with a school crossing guard present, as well as new penalties for drivers who are convicted of careless driving causing death or bodily harm.
In addition to the penalties above, aggressive or careless drivers who put themselves and other road users, such as pedestrians, at risk may be charged with careless driving. If you are convicted of careless driving you can face:
· Fines of up to $2,000
· Six demerit points
· A maximum of six months in jail
· A driver’s licence suspension of up to two years
As of September 1, 2018, if you are convicted of careless driving causing bodily harm or death you can face:
· Fines from $2,000 to $50,000
· Six demerit points
· A maximum of two years in jail
· Courts can impose a driver’s licence suspension of up to five years
For information on these offences, you can visit MTO’s website or search for these offences in the Highway Traffic Act.