LTR to Rep Hackworth and Senator Kilby

I am writing to ask for your support in resolving one aspect of the dangerous situations that Oak Ridge children are facing daily in their walk to and from school.

You can read details about the specific dangers and what efforts have been made locally at www.protectoakridgekids.blogspot.com. With regards to your involvement, I believe that a specific change in our traffic laws would be one action that would benefit Oak Ridge children as well as all Tennesseans. The city is working on installing flashing lights and a reduced speed zone at one intersection, but this one action will not address the full scope of the problems that I have witnessed for the last 2 months while serving as a volunteer crossing guard. In fact, such measures would not have prevented an incident I had this week (described below).

I have learned from the OR Police Department that there are limited laws regarding vehicles and crosswalks. I had inquired about this because I’d experienced, on nearly a daily basis, cars crossing in front of and behind me while I was legally crossing through a crosswalk. It was only this week that I fully appreciated just what a danger this posed. As I was crossing Robertsville Rd, a car crossed 2 feet ahead of me from Illinois Ave. While I was alert enough to stop for her to pass, there was another vehicle behind her that I had not seen and who had not seen me. The result was a quick stop by the driver about 1 foot from me. Sadly, the ordeal has led to my no longer serving the some 15-20 children who cross there every morning.

Sir, I strongly feel that changes in our traffic laws similar to those in other regions of the world are key to increased safety of these children. In Germany, for example, it is illegal for a vehicle to cross the plane of a crosswalk while a pedestrian is within that same plane. Were this the case in Tennessee, I believe that drivers would become more alert to pedestrians, thus increasing their safety. Would you consider pursuing similar laws in our state?

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