SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WEHT) – The local traffic directors for schools are receiving recognition from Illinois. Gov. JB Pritzker has declared May 19 as Crossing Guard Appreciation Day in Illinois to honor those who help ensure the safety of students throughout Illinois as they walk and bike to school.

“Crossing guards are not only friendly faces at the start and end of the school day, but they also play a critical role in the overall safety and operation of our transportation network,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “We’re proud to partner with Gov. Pritzker to recognize these public servants for all the work they do keeping communities – and our children – safe.”

Roughly 360 pedestrians ages 8 to 14, on average, are hurt in vehicle-related incidents every year in Illinois. This number would likely be much higher without crossing guards.

Crossing guards serve as a visual reminder to motorists to slow down in school zones where children are crossing and help students learn safe pedestrian habits, such as looking both ways before stepping onto the road and walking bikes across the street.

Visit IDOT’s Facebook page here to share thoughts about what the crossing guards mean to the community or to recognize a special crossing guard.