Community raises concerns about school zone traffic safety - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Community raises concerns about school zone traffic safety, students in the roadway

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

WSFA 12 News received reports of drivers having to slam on their brakes and swerving to avoid hitting students in Montgomery, along with accounts of kids playing and pushing each other out into the busy streets. Viewers say they've seen some scary scenes play out near schools.

According to a slew of our viewers and followers on social media, it's something they see every day, and they think it's getting out of hand.

"I have seen a child cross the street and almost get hit and it scares me," said one parent.

Our crews spotted similar sights near Lee High School, Capitol Heights Middle School and Bellingrath Middle School- cars speeding through school zones and children forcing drivers to stop inches from them, not using crosswalks or waiting for traffic lights to change, and even dancing in the roadway.

On our Facebook page viewers posted comments like:

"I have also encountered students purposely walking out in front of cars, including me, and then laughing about it as they cross the street."

"These kids think they are invincible. When there is a green light, kids would still cross as if they dare you to hit them! It's becoming ridiculous and they do not seem to learn until something terrible happens. Which by then will be too late."

"It isn't just school zones. Drive into any neighborhood just after school and there will be dozens of kids walking down the center of the road or crossing streets without looking. Most of the time as slowly as possible whether a car is coming or not."

Montgomery police say every year in the city, they handle cases involving children being hit by cars.

"We're seeing more students today with mobile devices, iPads and phones. They're distracted as well as maybe even unfortunately some of the drivers that are out there," said Sgt. BJ Champlin with the Accident Investigation Office, part of the Montgomery Police Department's Traffic Division. "We do have instances of juvenile pedestrians struck by a vehicle every year. It's unfortunate but it's true."

Statistics that hit home for Lee High School. Two weeks ago, a student was killed while trying to cross a busy road on a school field trip. And in 2012, a 16-year-old student was seriously injured when she was hit by a car while crossing the street in front of the high school.

They're the kind of tragedies Jimmy Upshaw fears. He works at a barbershop across the street from Capitol Heights Middle School and says every day, his concern grows.

"I've even seen kids go out there and put their own hands up or put their hands on the front of the car to stop traffic and this is dangerous. I think somebody could be possibly hurt or even killed," he said. "I think somebody could be possibly hurt or even killed. It's a big concern."

Montgomery police say they are out in school zones and surrounding neighborhoods, targeting speeders in an effort to keep drivers alert and aware and they encourage parents and school to reinforce basic school crossing safety with their children and students.

"I always tell them to be alert, be aware and always watch out for themselves," one parent said.

"I tell my daughter to look both ways and if you see a driver that you think is going too fast, don't step out and get help to cross," another parent added.

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