Crossing guards have dangerous jobs. While they are protecting our children from drivers and making sure they can cross the street safety, they themselves are putting themselves at risk simply by doing their jobs. Over at the NJ Safe Routes to School blog, we were delighted to see that there is a new research report from NJDOT and the NJ SRTS Resource Center, “More Than Crossing Streets,” which provides details on school crossing guard training and work conditions in New Jersey as well as current best practices in use throughout the country.
According to the Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund of New Jersey, the position of school crossing guard has become one of the more dangerous occupations in municipal government. The insurance fund reported a 65% increase in crashes involving crossing guards between 1996 and 2006.
The research report found some gaps in crossing guard education and suggests areas for improvement, not only in training and supervision, but also in the physical conditions surrounding crossing guard posts. The report concludes that a uniform statewide school crossing guard training program, increased awareness within communities of school zone hazards, and the promotion of design improvements within school zones will contribute to a safer experience for crossing guards and child pedestrians.
Model Crossing Guard Policy Available Now
Thanks to the New Jersey Safe Routes to School Resource Center, New Jersey now has a Model Municipal Crossing Guard Policy to provide traffic safety officers in police departments throughout the state with specific guidance related to hiring, training, and supervising school crossing guards. The policy is now available on the NJ SRTS Resource Center Crossing Guard webpage.
The policy can be downloaded as a template to be adapted to the needs of any community and altered to provide consistency with other municipal policies. The intent of the policy is to clarify the role of school crossing guards and to encourage consistent supervision to improve job performance and safety.
New Training Manual Coming Soon
The NJ SRTS Resource Center is also hard at work on a School Crossing Guard Training Manual that will provide guidance for consistent instruction and serve as a resource for practicing crossing guards. A structured training and retraining program will enable trainers and crossing guards to perform their duties more effectively and safely. Other resources coming soon include a performance assessment tool, a crossing guard post review tool, tip sheets, and an image library for use in training.
Well-trained crossing guards helping our kids get to school safely is so important to getting our kids to school safely. Want to learn more about Safe Routes to School? Contact GMTMA today!