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Are new stop signs protecting students in Phoenix?

Posted: 4:30 AM, Sep 13, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-11 09:08:36-04

The goal is to catch a driver's attention in a flash with a flash.

ABC15 told you in August about brand new stop sign paddles that light up, a new design debuting just as kids were going back to school.

But in a new Operation Safe Roads report , we are going in-depth to see what kind of research was done by the City of Phoenix to get these from the assembly line to city streets. 

Donald Cross is the School Safety Coordinator for the City of Phoenix.

He said that they put video surveillance at eight intersections over eight months to see if these local  SureStop, LLC  signs really made a difference. 

"Even during the video testing, drivers would come up and yell out their window, 'I can see that from 500 feet away,'" Cross explained. 

Here were the intersections Cross selected:

  • 35th Avenue and Dunlap 
  • 27th Avenue and Northern
  • 19th Avenue and Joan De Arc
  • 56th Street and Muriel
  • 15th Avenue and Southern
  • 3rd Avenue and Glendale
  • 35th Avenue and Palm
  • 28th Street and McDowell

Since Phoenix has eight council districts, he picked one intersection per district. The intersections selected were not necessarily spots with a high number of accidents, but instead - spots where there is high speed and heavy traffic near a school. 

RELATED: Jaywalking continues to be a deadly problem in Arizona

"We wanted to see if drivers were effected and would slow down as they approached the intersection," Cross said. 

Cross said that after studying hours upon hours of video surveillance, he realized that these could be the difference between life and death.

"The sign would kind of draw the driver's attention to that location," Cross described. "Because a lot of drivers, unfortunately, are looking at their phones and looking at other things that they shouldn't be looking at." 

Not only are these signs expanding in school zones, you may also start seeing them on the freeway. 

Cross said the Arizona Department of Transportation is looking into how these signs could protect their workers. Cross also said that the city is looking to give them to their street workers, as well. 

"You may see them in other uses, besides just schools," Cross said. 

The signs are not cheap, as they run more than $300 a piece.

Right now, the city is in a five-year contract with the company spending roughly $10,000 a year. 

Cross said some schools are choosing to pay for the signs out-of-pocket themselves in order to get more of them on the streets faster. 

The owners hope that they can take this product nationwide as quickly as possible. 

RELATED: Know about a road problem in your area? Report it here.  

The principal of Ignacio Conchos Elementary School, Dr. Benjamin Roat, in the Roosevelt School District said there was an incident on September 26 that forced him to pick up the phone and purchase the sign out of the school's pocketbook.

A fifth grader was walking in the crosswalk to get to class when she was hit by a car causing road rash and injuring her ankle.

The crossing guard was in the crosswalk with their stop paddle up, according to the principal. The crossing guard told Dr. Roat that a car had drove through their stop sign.

The girl was immediately taken to the hospital for treatment and was sent home later that day.

In an email, Dr. Roat said, "I want to find another deterrent to drivers trying to speed and/or run through the crosswalk. This is the reason for us researching additional tools (i.e. Sure Stop) to make us as safe as possible."