Public officials – whether law enforcement officers, safety officials or officeholders – should be familiar with traffic rules and regulations at all times. One of those rules is yielding to pedestrians, especially in marked crossings. Unfortunately, one fire official in New Brunswick is facing trouble after reportedly causing a recent accident that injured three minors in a city crosswalk.

Police say the city’s fire director admitted hitting three young pedestrians on a city street while driving a state-owned SUV. Police identified the victims as two teenage girls, both 14, and a 6-year-old brother of one of the girls. The children were using the crosswalk when the accident occurred. All were transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for treatment. They are expected to make a full recovery.

The 56-year-old city official received a traffic summons for failure to yield to pedestrians and for careless driving. The prosecutor for Middlesex County is continuing to investigate and could file additional charges.

This is only the latest of nearly two dozen traffic infractions by the fire director. State driving records revealed he has been involved in at least 19 other car accidents. Since he obtained his driver’s license in 1977, it has been suspended 18 times. His previous citations included speeding and driving on a suspended license.

The families of the injured children are asking how the driver failed to see the victims. Although a crossing guard was not present, it was a clear day and the official should have seen them, relatives say.

A car accident involving children is frightening for parents anywhere, including New Jersey. Fortunately, there are legal options available to victims or their families that can hold a careless driver accountable for their actions. The driver may be required to compensate the injured victims to help them recover the financial costs of a traumatic experience.