Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — If they could get a message to motorists, crossing guards would likely advise them not to be in a hurry.
Beth Leuba has helped kids on their way to school in Farmington for the past seven years. She also supervises other crossing guards in Farmington and is anxious to share some words of advice.
“They’re in too much of a hurry,” she said of motorists, as she stood at the busy corner of State and Main.
From her vantage point on the street, she has seen people go through lights after they’ve turned red and enter crosswalks when students have the right of way.
Speeding is an issue, said Leuba, though it’s not always malicious.
“They don’t understand,” she said.
Rules are different at school crossings, Leuba said.
If she and the children are anywhere in the crossing, cars are not allowed to pass.
Cars generally have a right to make a right turn after stopping at a red light, but not if she and the children are entering the crosswalk with a green light.
Another factor affecting safety is the use of cell phones.
“One parent told me he used to think there were just a few drivers on cell phones,” she said, but after walking with his kids to school, “he said he now thinks nine out of 10 are on cell phones.”
She and her fellow crossing guards are grateful for the presence of Farmington police officers, who patrol the area to keep kids safe.
She said one driver was stopped for going 40 mph in the 20 mph school zone.
Leuba works to make sure the children know to use the crosswalks and to watch for her signal that it’s safe to cross.
She also hopes parents will teach their children about safety around streets and cars.
It’s stressful to keep children safe and not impede traffic any more than is necessary,” she said, and added:
“I personally was almost hit twice last week.”