In the Opinion section of the Fairfax County Times there was a disturbing piece sent in by an angry parent of a child who was struck while walking in the crosswalk by an unsafe motorist. Having represented pedestrians struck while legally crossing streets in Northern Virginia for three decades, and being the parent of a quartet myself, this OpEd piece resonated with Herndon injury lawyer Doug Landau. In this poignant piece, the author notes, “If you hit two kids in a crosswalk, Fairfax will charge you $37.50 per kid.” That’s the message a Fairfax City General District Court Judge sent when he ruled in a traffic violation case involving the writer’s 13-year old daughter and one of her friends.
[In this August accident the] kids hit the pavement and came up with scratches, bruises and concussions. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt.” They waited for the “walk” sign, and walked across busy Pickett Road to the Fair City Mall. While they were in the crosswalk, they were hit by the Defendant’s pickup truck.
In an October hearing, the Falls Church driver plead guilty to failing to yield to a pedestrian. The most Judge could have fined him was $250 — already pretty small considering two kids were knocked to the ground by a moving vehicle. Apparently the family of the victims did not know to check the Virginia Court Case Index to see when the case was to be heard.
The Fairfax General District Court judge did not impose even close to the maximum sentence. The fine was set at $75. The decision cannot be appealed. The writer adds,
“Traffic is pretty scary in Fairfax, and many adults are already nervous about crossing certain roads on foot. It seems to me that one way to slow it all down is to at least make inattentive drivers pay the paltry maximum fine when they plow into people who are in crosswalks when the light says “walk.”
But if the judges aren’t tough enough, and if we can’t have a minimum fine for hitting people in crosswalks, maybe we can change all the “walk” signs to “run.” That might give some of us a fighting chance.”