The Newton Police Department employs civilian crossing guards to supplement pedestrian safety at 15 intersections throughout Newton during the school year. Supervised by the Support Services Division Commander, these non-sworn positions have a very important job in making sure that school childern have a safe means to get to their respective schools.
Traffic collisions are a leading cause of death for children under 15 years of age. In 2005, many of the fatalities among young pedestrians occurred before and after school, and 82 percent occurred at non-intersection locations.
Aside from ensuring that children remain safe while crossing highways, crossing guards also protect our children by reporting any suspicious activity or safety hazards to police.
The Newton Police Department participates in the Safe Routes to School program which promotes pedestrian safety for schoolchildren within our community. The department has also installed highly visible signage and enhanced crosswalks at frequently used intersections to further protect predestrians.
Are vehicles required to stop for a crossing guard's signal?
New Jersey statute 39:4-80.1 states, "A motor vehicle operator who fails to comply with a school crossing guard's signal to stop during those time periods when that guard is duly authorized to control or direct vehicular or pedestrian traffic pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1979, c.82 (C.40A:9-154.4) shall be fined not less than $150 for a first offense. For a subsequent offense, the operator shall be fined not less than $300."
What can children do to stay safe while walking home?
- Always obey Crossing Guards and School Safety Patrols.
- Before crossing - look all ways.
- Obey all traffic signals.
- Use crosswalks and corners to cross the road.
- Where there is no sidewalk and it is necessary to walk in the roadway, walk facing traffic and as far from the roadway as possible.
- Avoid crossing between parked cars.
- Watch for cars. Be sure that the way is clear before you cross.
What can drivers do to keep children safe?
- Limit distractions such as cell phones, CD players or other devices that cause you to take your eyes off the road. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds doubles your chances of crashing.
- Stay Alert and slow down in or near school and residential areas. Don't rush into and out of driveways. Expect pedestrians on the sidewalk, especially around schools and in neighborhoods.
- Stop at stop signs. It sounds obvious, but research shows that more than one third of drivers roll through stop signs in school zones or neighborhoods.
- Look for clues such as School Safety Patrols, Adult Crossing Guards, bicycles, and playgrounds, which indicate children could be in the area.
- Drive with your headlights on - even during the day - so children and other drivers can see you.
- Always stop for school buses that are loading/unloading students.
- Pay particular attention near schools during the morning and afternoon hours and plan ahead. Leave early for your destination and build extra time for congestion.
- Practice extra caution in adverse weather conditions.
How do I become a crossing guard?
New Jersey State Law requires that any school crossing guard:
- Is a citizen and resident of this State
- Is sound in body and of good health
- Is of good moral character
- Has not been convicted of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude.