More steps need to be taken to police speeding drivers

Published Jul 31, 2013 at 5:41 am (Updated Jul 28, 2013 at 6:55 pm)

I agree with the need to take more aggressive action to reduce speeding in residential neighborhoods. While the �Keep Kids Alive: Drive 25 decal idea may have some impact, I fear that it will not be enough to make a material change to a potentially tragic problem.

One of the great strengths of Peters Township is its beautiful residential streets. However, many of these same 25 mph-zoned streets, including my own, are rendered largely unsafe for children due to the high frequency of excessive vehicle speed. This problem is especially evident during morning and evening commutes and weekends – all times when children are most likely to be out and about.

More aggressive action should be within our reach and a high priority for residents, parents, schools and elected officials. The Peters Township Municipal code can be rewritten to make it easier for neighborhoods to qualify for speed-reducing measures, such as speed bumps and islands. Investments can be made in radar-equipped signs for permanent installation in neighborhoods. Lists of offenders can be published. Students can be educated and mobilized as agents of change. At the end of the day, a change in personal priorities will be required to solve the problem.

What really is most important – saving two minutes off the morning commute, rushing to squeeze in a Starbucks visit, the selfish thrill of driving fast – or preserving the safety and lives of children? Consider the following facts: Vehicle stopping distance quadruples as vehicle speed doubles. And, more sobering, the ability of a pedestrian to survive a vehicle impact is largely a function of vehicle speed. Readily available data from the U.S. Department of Transportation indicates a five percent fatality rate at 20 mph, vs. an 80 percent fatality rate at 40 mph.

Clearly this problem is at epidemic levels, has potentially tragic consequences, and a lasting solution will not be easy. Partnership between residents and Township Police is an important and valued step. While I believe the decal program will be of limited impact, I am in 100 percent agreement with its intent, applaud its direct language, and intend to participate. I also ask that we dial up the urgency for more impactful action.

Jonathan Zimmer

Peters Township

More steps need to be taken to police speeding drivers

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