You may notice a little extra traffic on the roads this coming week as hundreds of Iowa kids will be walking or riding their bikes back to school. Many schools line-up volunteers to guard cross-walks, but in some of Iowa’s larger cities crossing-guards are paid to keep watch over their busiest intersections.
Linda White organizes the crossing guards for the Iowa City police. “It gets a little dangerous,” White says of the job. “I had one of them that said, ‘I’m not going to do it this year because of the traffic problems.’”
White has heard horror stories about some really close calls. “People that don’t stop for the crossing guard and then will brush by them going by while they’re still standing in the street,” White says. But the number of fatal accidents involving child who’re walking is on a dramatic decline.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly eight-hundred children under the age of 15 were killed while they were walking in 1993. Ten years later, in 2003, that number was less than four-hundred.