Recent Traffic Accidents Place Spotlight on Pedestrian Safety

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Several Benton County parents have voiced their concerns about pedestrian safety to the Bentonville School Board.

They said they are worried after two Bentonville students were in hit in traffic two weeks apart.

"It breaks your heart when you find out somebody else's child is hurting and therefore their family is hurting," said Rebecca Russell, who has an eight year-old son.

School board president Travis Riggs said one parent in Monday's meeting spoke about a community, city and school board collaborative effort to address safety concerns.

"Accidents do happen every day, we don't like them," Riggs said.

"But it does make you stop and think, what should we be doing? Can we do anything more?" Riggs said.

Riggs said Superintendent Michael Poore suggested students use a buddy system when crossing streets.

"They tend to look out for each other more than they look out for themselves," Riggs said. 

"That's a very interesting concept that we may have to adopt maybe in orientation or school curriculum in some way and heighten awareness on school safety," Riggs said.

Riggs said one issue is jurisdiction since both recent accidents involving students happened outside of school zones.

"How far do we keep moving out safety issues from our boundaries to try to deal with some of these issues and deal with tax payer money efficiently, spending the money appropriately to increase safety," Riggs said.

Michael Huff, who has three children in the Bentonville school system, said awareness is a key issue.

"Keep passing the word, talking about it, make it a set thing, making sure you watch when you are driving, keep your eyes open," Huff said.

Other parents such as Rebecca Russell said one solution could be organizing volunteer crossing guards at major intersections.

"You can find many parents and many volunteers that would volunteer their time to definitely ensure the safety of our children," Russell said.

Other ideas from concerned parents include lowering the speed limit, lighting crosswalk signs and installing speed bumps.