Dearborn Needs to Do More to Enforce Traffic Laws Near Schools
Dearborn mom and business owner Tracy Besek discusses the problem of unsafe driving before and after school.
As I write this I am still furious. Furious at the parents that are in their own realm and do not follow simple traffic laws around the schools, compromising the safety of the other students.
This morning as I left Haigh Elementary, I witnessed a second grade girl almost get hit by a car in the crosswalk. The car was not a random passerby, but another parent of a Haigh student.
The parent, as many do, pulled over between the stop sign and the cross walk to drop her own child off. The other girl was crossing the street, and the parent neglected to look, and was pulling from the curb. The little girl was only about two feet from being hit, because the parent was not paying attention to anything, but watching her child walk into the school yard.
I was horrified by this. I couldn’t not let this just go by, so I said something to the driver (parent) about paying attention. I pointed out that she wasn’t even supposed to be pulling over and parking that close to the crosswalk. Her response was that she was just dropping off her kid.
I see this every single day: Parents pulling over and dropping their kids off in unsafe/illegal areas. The line of vision for the kids that are walking is cut off and someone, one of these days, is actually going to be hurt.
The little girl was lucky that the parent was driving a car. If it was an SUV, the driver may not have even seen her at all!!
This is not the first time I have seen a near miss. This is the crosswalk on the south end of Levagood Park with the blinking red light. I’ve almost hit a child running in front of my van beyond the crosswalk where the parents drop their kids off in front of the school on the east side of the street. They then dart through traffic and the busses to get to the school rather than walking the extra half block either way to one of the crosswalks.
I have seen police patrol cars drive through and not address the flagrant disregard for parking laws/signs around the schools. In the morning, all the offenses are on the west side of the street for the drop offs–in the middle of the crosswalks, next to the crosswalks, or just plain in the middle of the street, because they can’t be bothered to follow the rules. Whether they don’t think their child can handle the extra 60 feet walk to the school grounds or they are just in a hurry.
After school is a whole other animal. It’s the east side of the street. Habitual offenders will continually park beyond the No Parking signs….creeping closer and closer to the crosswalk. It’s the same parents every time!
Unfortunately, there is not a crossing guard there on a regular basis. I personally am going to see what I can do to adjust my schedule to rectify this, but if I do, I will not sit quietly while I watch parents disobey the safety laws. I will speak up as I did today to any parent that does not park where it’s permitted. It’s not about their convenience ... it’s about the safety of the children!
What can we do to get better patrols before and after school for more than just a day (a 3 -4 day span?)? I know parents complain about the safety. Then again, parents complain about tickets being handed out. If they were to follow the rules, then they wouldn’t have to worry about a ticket. I could personally reduce the city’s budget deficit with all the tickets that I could pass out (if I were an officer) before and after school.
Is it going to take a child actually getting hurt before we actually do something? Would something as simple as traffic cones in the no parking zones around the school help? I’ve seen other schools do this, but I don’t know how effective this is.
I really am still shaken up by what I saw this morning. I am so thankful that no one got hurt. I know that even though I mentioned dropping off in a safer area, that same parent will do the same thing over and over again.
What can the police department do to help us? What can we, the concerned parents (as I am not the only one), do to bring awareness to the others that don’t follow the traffic safety laws around the school? What can we do in this last month and a half of school and carry over into next year?
Dearborn resident and business owner