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54 years ago: Credit safety patrols for saving young lives

3:54 PM, May 10, 2013  |  Comments
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Each Monday, we turn to a day in the newspaper's history for a look at what the Editorial Board found worthy of comment. We will preserve the punctuation and capitalization of the original editorial column. Here is what we wrote on May 13, 1959:

Life Savers ...

Members of the school safety patrols of the Wausau area have been receiving a good deal of recognition of late and they certainly deserve it.

They warrant the thanks of each and every one of us for the great service they have performed.

They have saved lives and prevented serious injuries through the protection they have afforded area school children. And they have given many a parent, school official and civic authority a peace of mind they would not otherwise have had.

The value of their services here and wherever they are organized is attested to by significant comparisons of national traffic fatality records.

Back in 1922, 3,190 children between the ages of 5 and 14 were killed in traffic accidents. That number amounted to about 20 per cent of the nation's total traffic toll of 15,300 in that year. But in 1957 - the most recent year for which figures by age are available - the toll had been reduced to 1,100 among children of school age. And the 1957 figure amounted to but 2.85 per cent of the national total for all ages, 38,500.

Despite the great increase in the use of the automobile in that period and the vast increase in total traffic deaths, the figures show, the number of children killed in the 5-14 age bracket is now only about a third of what it used to be. Had the same proportion of fatalities continued as marked the picture in 1922, the 1957 traffic death toll of school age children would have been close to 8,000.

A key factor in the great record of improvement in that area has been service of the school safety patrols which were organized through the efforts of the American Automobile Association and its affiliated clubs. There are now some 770,000 active school patrols saving lives and preventing injuries by keeping alert watch over the nation's school crossings.

From the Stevens Point Journal: Pedestrian May Be Dead Right, Also Dead

It is good to know that in a society dedicated to high speed, jumping red lights and sundry acts of mass extinction, the lowly pedestrian still has a friend. It's the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania that has just affirmed his right to survival.

The court's opinion couldn't have been more emphatic. "A pedestrian," said the court firmly, "who has observed all the rules of the highway has the right to stop traffic until he passes in safety, even as Moses held back the Red Sea."

That's a fine ringing sentiment which followers of the Scriptures and Constitution will endorse. It should give pause to high-spirited drivers who may be tempted to bag anyone on foot whose time is less than 9.7.

Yet even as he goes about his lawful business, buttressed by the power and majesty of the law, the pedestrian is left with a disquieting thought. Do the drivers of cars coming up fast read the unanimous opinions of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court?

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