School Safety Zones + Tougher Penalties = Safer Kids

Carl L Marcellino

September 06, 2007

Senator Carl L. Marcellino today announced legislation that calls for the creation of "School Safety Zones" where drivers will see fines doubled for moving violations including speeding, and driving while talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device occurring within a quarter mile radius of a primary or secondary school or 200 yards of a school in New York City. Senator Marcellino was joined by Dr. Phyllis Harrington, Oyster Bay - East Norwich School District Superintendent and Ms. Gina Faust, Principal of the Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School.

"My main concern is the well being of kids. I want to prevent any unnecessary accidents at all costs. With the high concentration of children in and around schools, our State needs to take necessary steps to deter potential traffic violations near schools. Doubling traffic fines will help to create a safer environment," said Senator Marcellino.The facts are alarming. Studies have shown that 65% of drivers speed in school zones during morning and afternoon hours when children are most vulnerable to traffic. In 2005, nearly one-fifth (18%) of all children between the ages of 5 and 9 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians. Children age 15 and younger accounted for 8 percent of the pedestrian fatalities in 2005 and 28 percent of all pedestrians injured in traffic crashes. A child’s risk of being killed when hit by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph is about 40 percent.

"Parents and caregivers need to remember that ‘children are not small adults’ they face traffic threats that exceed their underdeveloped motor skills, coordination, sensory stimulation, and balance especially if they are 10 years old or younger," said Dr. Harrington.

"I urge you to spread the word about school transportation safety. Teach and reinforce safety rules so they become safety habits that last a lifetime. This will help to save lives and prevent injuries, and make our communities stronger," said Ms. Faust.

"I ask everyone to drive defensively and courteously. Obey current school zone speed limits and crossing guards. Watch carefully for enthusiastic children who may not be watching themselves so that the back-to-school season can be safe and enjoyable for everyone," said Senator Marcellino. "The legislation has passed the Senate for 3 consecutive years and I urge the Assembly to follow suit so our children are safe."

All fines for moving violations in "School Safety Zones" would be doubled during posted school hours for both public and private schools and incorporates all towns and cities in New York State.