If you hit two kids in a crosswalk, Fairfax will charge you $37.50 per kid.
That’s the message Fairfax City General District Court Judge William J. Minor Jr. sent when he ruled in a traffic violation case involving my 13-year old daughter and one of her friends.
In August, the two girls 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 a pickup truck.
Both kids hit the pavement and came up with scratches, bruises and concussions. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt.
In an October hearing that we recently learned about, the Falls Church driver pleaded guilty to failing to yield to a pedestrian. The most Judge Minor could have fined him was $250 — already pretty small considering two kids were knocked to the ground by a moving vehicle.
But for reasons we may never know, Judge Minor thought that was a little high, and set the fine at $75, less than any speeding ticket you’ll ever get. We’re told the decision can’t be appealed.
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.
Pete Kasperowicz, Fairfax