Crashing Into Crossing Guards No Big Deal Under NJ Law [AUDIO]
This past February, the current principal at Weehawken High School and a former Cresskill Borough councilman crashed his car into and seriously injured a 74-year-old crossing guard.
The police report indicates the crossing guard, Ned Visich was standing in an intersection holding up a stop sign while wearing a bright tallow jacket. Assemblyman Anthony Bucco was shocked to learn that the driver, Peter Olivieri faced only a minimum fine and just two or three points on his driver's license.
Bucco says, "When you compare those fines to when someone passes a school bus the fines are enhanced and the penalties are pretty dramatic so I just think something needs to be done to address this crossing guard issue and I'm going to look into legislation that would increase the penalties in a situation where a person is found to have been driving carelessly and injured a crossing guard."
The increased penalties under the bill Bucco is putting together would include an automatic 3-month license suspension.
"Not only are the crossing guards at risk here, but so are the children," explains Bucco. "We need to make sure that we protect those people that are out there protecting our children… These crossing guards go out every morning and every afternoon and they're there to protect our kids as they cross our roads."
The job of crossing guard is more dangerous than you probably think. The latest statistics from the State Department of Health and senior Services reveals that from 1993 to 2008, 14 NJ adult crossing guards were killed when struck by motor vehicles while at work. An additional 121 adult crossing guards suffered injuries serious enough to require full days away from work as a result of motor vehicle-related accidents.