Speeding through residential neighborhoods is one of the most frequent complaints issued to police departments. It can also be one of the greatest barriers to surmount when parents consider whether to allow their children to walk or bike to school.
Speed is a major factor in whether or not a pedestrian/vehicle collision proves fatal. Children and seniors are often more vulnerable to fatal injuries. A 10-mile per hour increase in speed, from 20 to 30 mph, increases the risk of death for a pedestrian in a collision nine-fold. If a car traveling 20 mph hits a person, there is a 95 percent chance that the person will survive; if that same car is traveling 40 mph, the chances for survival are reduced to 15 percent.
How to Start
Speeding can be addressed in three main ways; through policy, driver education or roadway improvements. Many communities have Transportation Safety Committees already in place that can investigate policy and infrastructure changes and recommend actions to local government. These municipal or school district-based committees typically include representatives from the police department and local government, engineers, neighborhood residents, school officials and other interested parties. If your municipality has no committee, contact your Traffic Safety Officer to find out how best to report speeding issues. For more information on Traffic Safety Officers, read Traffic Safety Officers Go To School article in this issue.
Many policy changes can be made to enhance safety. For example, requests for more aggressive enforcement of speeding and other moving violations, particularly during rush hours and school travel periods, can be made directly to police