House Bill 2653 Goes to Floor This Week

Government in action – Rep. Hackworth sent me the following, which I believe will be published in this week’s local paper. I have a more personal stake in seeing this one through given that it has a direct tie to what led to the end of my crossing guard days

Just as with the bill to increase speeding fines in school zones, one big goal here is heightened awareness of pedestrians. Educating the public and enforcement are hurdles to overcome if passed, but they are impossible to achieve if not passed. One small step at a time, we are building a safer environment for our children.

GOOD LUCK, JIM!

Rep. Jim Hackworth’s bi-weekly Legislative Report

Next week a bill that I am sponsoring is expected to be taken up on the floor of the House of Representatives. This bill, while not as controversial or exciting as many of the partisan issues you hear about in the news, is something that I believe is very important and can help in protecting our children.

Many of you have called or written me regarding your concerns about our children’s safety while walking to and from school. Many of you expressed concern that even with posted signs, flashing lights and traffic guards present many drivers appear to be willing to drive recklessly near schools.

House Bill 2653 is a bipartisan bill I have sponsored with Republican State Senator Randy McNally that prohibits motor vehicles from crossing a crosswalk in a school safety zone when a pedestrian is present in the crosswalk. Presently, drivers are required to stop and are allowed to move forward behind a pedestrian after they cross the center line. Under the proposed change a vehicle must stay stopped until the pedestrian gets to the other side of the street. I believe this change is necessary because injuries and deaths are often a result of children abruptly turning and vaulting back into the path of a vehicle.

Drivers in local school zones must recognize that kids are kids, and that sometimes things can happen around a school that may require quick reactions. All it takes is one careless driver not paying attention to cause a fatality. Not recognizing this could mean the difference between life and death. Our children are too fragile to have speeders driving recklessly within our school zones.

While I recognize we cannot legislate responsibility, we can make laws to punish those who would act irresponsibly. Our children will one day take our places as leaders in the community, so today we must be leaders by helping to protect them.

If you would like to learn more about school zone safety legislation, or if you have an issue you’d like me address, then please contact my office at (615) 741-4400 or e-mail me at rep.jim.hackworth@legislature.state.tn.us.

Thank you again for taking time to learn more about what your state government is doing for you and I look forward to speaking with you again soon.

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