Dear Reader,

I was watching the news recently and came across a story that broke my heart. Two young girls, one five and one ten, while on their way to school, were struck and killed while holding hands with their father, legally crossing a crosswalk.  The woman who killed them was driving a transportation van and, for an unknown reason, became distracted when making a left-hand turn.  This distraction resulted in tragedy.  (See the full story in the link at the end of this blog.)

The investigator discovered that the school’s longtime crossing guard had retired and police, who hire crossing guards were still working to fill the position.

What a horrible, pointless, and unnecessary loss.

Folks I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to remain vigilant while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Even a momentary lapse in attention can have life-altering and life-ending consequences.

The next time you venture out on the road, especially during the hours surrounding school arrivals and dismissals, ask yourself…

Are you in such a hurry that you’re willing to risk hitting a child rushing to catch a school bus?

Is your schedule so pressing that you’d take a chance on ending the life of a second grader before they can safely make it to school?

And the answer, you and I both know, is that nothing is so pressing, urgent, or necessary that it should keep you from being a responsible driver and a caring, decent human being.

I am a proud grandfather of a little girl who just may be the cutest child on the planet.  She loves to learn and looks forward to going to school.   You probably have a little one in your life, maybe a son or daughter, a niece or nephew, or a grandchild of your own who wakes up excited for life and a fun day of learning and playing with friends at school.  No child should be robbed of the opportunity to grow up. No parent should be denied the chance to watch their child grow, discover, and learn.

Our kids should all have safe access to our schools, and we, as drivers and as members of our community, have a responsibility to drive cautiously and see to it they get there.

If you are a safe driver who never speeds in school zones, keeps your cell phone out of reach while driving, and wouldn’t dream of passing a stopped school bus. I thank you for your diligent, good driving habits.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself reading this with furtive eyes, knowing you’re guilty of, shall we say, less-than-ideal driving habits around schools and our kids, Stop it.  Make a commitment to yourself and to the rest of us that starting today, you will be a better driver and never again risk the life of an innocent child because you were in a hurry or couldn’t resist checking a text message.


Pay attention to your surroundings, keep your hands on the wheel and your mind on the road.

Do this all the time, but please, do it double time in school zones.

Lastly, if a child you love is ever injured or killed by a bad driver, call my office.  I will fight to see the guilty party held responsible for what they’ve done.

Until next time, please be safe, and NEVER text while driving!

Paul Samakow

Attorney Paul Samakow

703-761-4343 or 301-949-1515


NBC Washington 10 yr old struck and killed on the way to school


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