Ensuring Child Safety: The Importance of Properly Trained Crossing Guards

In bustling urban areas throughout Florida, children often rely on school crossing guards to safely navigate busy streets and intersections on their way to and from school. These dedicated individuals play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of young pedestrians, particularly in crosswalks where traffic can be unpredictable. However, the effectiveness of crossing guards hinges not only on their presence but also on their training and adherence to established guidelines.

In Florida, the Department of Transportation (FDOT) has outlined comprehensive School Crossing Guard Training Guidelines to equip crossing guards with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their duties effectively. These guidelines encompass various aspects, including understanding traffic patterns, proper positioning at intersections, and strategies for safely guiding pedestrians across the street. Despite the availability of these training guidelines, instances of children being injured in crosswalks still occur. Often, these incidents highlight a critical gap in implementation: the failure to ensure that crossing guards are adequately trained and positioned to mitigate potential risks.

3 million Dollar Settlement After Child Killed in Pembroke Pines

The legal case involving Sophia Gutierrez’s estate against Kemp Group International Corp., contracted by the City of Pembroke Pines to provide crossing guards near Lakeside Elementary, began in January 2022. Sophia, along with her parents and sister, was leaving Lakeside Elementary on their bicycles after school. Per the contract terms, Kemp was responsible for having three crossing guards to assist students and families at the busy intersection near the school. However, only two crossing guards were present, and they allowed Sophia’s family to cross the intersection despite an allegedly erratic driver approaching.

Shortly thereafter, the driver tragically collided with Sophia, resulting in her untimely death during a medical emergency. The estate’s legal representatives argued that Kemp’s negligent training and supervision of the crossing guards led to the failure to adequately guide students and families across the intersection safely. Furthermore, they asserted that Kemp had neglected to instruct the guards on advising pedestrians on the correct procedure for crossing the intersection safely while walking their bicycles.

In response, Kemp contended that Sophia’s parents and the driver bore responsibility, suggesting that the parents should have noticed the approaching vehicle and taken precautions to safeguard their daughter. Kemp further claimed that the unpredictable behavior of the driver hindered the crossing guards’ ability to intervene and prevent the tragic incident.
In response, the estate’s counsel cited the Florida Department of Transportation School Crossing Guard Training Guidelines, arguing that adequately trained guards would have been positioned correctly in the intersection, allowing them to identify and react to the erratic car, thereby preventing the accident from occurring.

Ultimately, the estate achieved a significant victory by securing a $3.02 million policy limits settlement from Kemp, providing some measure of justice for Sophia’s tragic death as she left her elementary school.

Crossing Guard Negligence

Consider a scenario where a child is struck by a car while crossing the street under the supervision of a crossing guard. Upon investigation, it is revealed that the crossing guard was not positioned correctly or did not take appropriate action to prevent the accident. In such cases, it becomes evident that proper training and adherence to FDOT guidelines could have potentially prevented the tragedy.

Had the crossing guards been properly trained, they would have been correctly positioned in the intersection, enabling them to see and hear any erratic behavior from approaching vehicles. Moreover, they would have been empowered to prohibit anyone from entering the intersection until the dangerous condition subsided, thus safeguarding the children under their care.
Ensuring the safety of children in crosswalks requires a collective effort from all stakeholders involved—parents, schools, law enforcement, and crossing guards. By prioritizing comprehensive training and strict adherence to established guidelines, we can mitigate the risks associated with pedestrian accidents and create safer environments for our children to travel to and from school.

At Wolfson & Leon, we recognize the importance of child safety and advocate for accountability when accidents occur. If your child has been injured in a pedestrian accident due to the negligence of others, our experienced team of personal injury attorneys is here to help. Contact us today at (305) WOLFSON (965-3766) for a free consultation and let us fight for the justice and compensation your child deserves. Together, we can work towards creating safer streets for all pedestrians, especially our most vulnerable—our children. Wolfson & Leon defends the rights of injured families throughout Florida from their offices in Miami, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Hialeah and Fort Lauderdale. All consultations are free and confidential.

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