While waiting for the bus to take him to school, a Southern California elementary school student noticed something troubling.
Cars were blowing through stop signs at the intersection where he and his fellow classmates gather to wait for the bus.
“I was thinking there are a lot of crashes every day and maybe we could do something to stop those crashes and save some lives,” said 10-year-old Sterling Vieau, a student at Stork Elementary School in Alta Loma.
With his mother in tow, Vieau sat at Hellman and Wilson avenues for 15 minute intervals at different times of the day. He did this for seven straight days, recording how many cars stopped and how many ran through the intersection’s four stop signs.
He then gave his statistics to the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department's traffic division, which is in charge of policing in unicorporated Alta Loma, along with a letter requesting extra patrol of the area.
“We do get calls on a regular basis about traffic problems in the various cities we serve,” said Sheriff John McMahon. “This was unique because I am not sure I have ever seen a letter or a study of this depth come to us from an elementary school student.”
Using Vieau’s information, motorcycle police were sent to the area and discussed the problem with drivers. Since then cars have almost entirely stopped running through the signs, McMahon said.
“It is a much safer intersection and clearly a much safer bus stop than it used to be,” McMahon said.
To honor Vieau for his efforts, the Rancho Cucamonga Police Department presented the elementary schooler with a certificate and a picture of all the department’s motorcycle officers.
“These are the kids that are going to lead us into the future,” McMahon told a crowd at Stork Elementary. “With kids like this we are in great shape.”