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Proposed Bill To Allow Crossing Guards To Cite Drivers

Some new legislation set to hit the floor of the Idaho House of Representatives would put more power in the hands of school crossing guards.

It would give crossing guards the ability to issue citations to drivers who don’t obey the laws around crosswalks.

We’ve all done it: slammed on our brakes when that 20 mph school zone speed limit goes into effect. Or, maybe some of us haven’t.

A new bill aims to help put a stop to the speeding.

“What we’re looking for, with having this legislation passed, is the ability to create a deterrence,” said Guy Bliesner, the Health, Safety and Security Coordinator for Bonneville Joint School District 93. “You affect people in their wallet, and it becomes a deterrent issue.”

And who better to enforce violations than the folks in the center of it all?

“Some of our crossing guards ought to have combat pay,” Bliesner joked.

Bonneville Joint School District 93 reports 37 “near misses,” involving cars flying through crosswalks and almost hitting kids, during the 2011-2012 school year. The proposed legislation aims to bring that number down, and would give the guards the ability to cite those drivers.

But, of course, every bill has its opponents.

“[The crossing guards] are going to have to get a description of the vehicle, get a license plate and a description of the driver driving the vehicle, which may be hard to do while they’re making sure the kids are crossing safely,” said Sgt. Jeff Edwards of the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.

Crossing guards agree that the multitasking would be tough.

“I don’t know how we would be able to do that, because we wouldn’t be able to run anyone down or anything,” said crossing guard Ed Dahlquist. “But I guess we could get plate numbers and stuff, and go from there.”

Dahlquist said he is still in favor of the legislation.

Still, the question remains whether a new law would change anything.

“Would it make things safer?” said Edwards. “On a 100 percent scale we haven’t had any kids hit in a crosswalk in a long period of time. So by saying this law would make it safer in Idaho Falls, I’m not so certain of that.”

To help crossing guards get a more detailed description of a car without distracting them too much from the rest of traffic, District 93 would consider giving them tiny cameras to put on their stop signs.

The bill is being proposed by Rep. Jeff Thompson, R – Idaho Falls.

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