I am writing this letter out of great concern for the safety of our children who walk to school or are dropped off at school. I have noticed that on a daily basis, especially early in the morning from about 06:15 to 08:00, how many parents, lift clubs and other motorists ignore the four-way stop sign outside the school. Even driving at excessive speeds, even when the road sign clearly shows 30km/H.
Granted, the road does get busy and congested at these times, but that does not give any driver permission to ignore the four-way stop sign or to speed. What will the driver’s attitude be if he or she was involved in an accident which claimed the life of a child?
As an ex-paramedic, I have worked at many accident scenes, trying to save lives, most times successful and at other times not being able to save a life due to the extent of a victim’s injuries. The reason why I stopped being a paramedic is because I could not handle the pain I saw in parent’s eyes when they were told: “I am so sorry, there was nothing I could do to save your child’s life as their injuries were too extensive.” Furthermore, I have been there – I lost a very precious life in a hit and run. I know the pain and I feel it every day.
I can only think of a few reasons why drivers ignore stop signs: 1. The driver does not know what the sign means, 2. The driver is in a hurry, and 3. The driver does not care about anyone else.
I have sometimes approached drivers who have driven through the stop sign, and the answers I got were: 1. “You are not a traffic officer to tell me what to do”, 2. “What are you going to do about it?”, 3. “So what? I did not kill anybody”, and 4. “There is no traffic officer nearby to see me”.
Come on, drivers, start obeying the traffic signs and also be more cautious and observant when you drive your car, especially outside a school. A child may run into the road at any time – will you be able to stop in time? A child may not be able to judge the speed of a car and avoid the speeding car.
Are you teaching your child that it is okay to disregard road signs? Are you teaching your child that as long as there is no visible law enforcement present, it is okay to ignore traffic signs? As teachers, we teach the children to obey rules.
It only takes a second, sometimes less than a second, to take a life in an accident.