Research-sixers103

Speeding Through Neighborhoods

When people say that they have been “pulled over”, it is most likely due to speeding, a very common reason for being pulled over.  Speeding can be defined as someone who may run very fast or someone who operates a vehicle that exceeds the legal speed limit. Speeding is one of the leading causes in vehicle deaths right behind intoxication. In 2018 speeding killed 9,378 people in the United States alone. Almost one third of all motor vehicle accidents are caused from a person who is speeding.

Speeding is dangerous and results in a variety of bad outcomes.  Just going ten to fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit puts you and others on the road at risk. Speeding in bad weather, terrible road conditions, or on dark unlit roads increases the risk of injury to you or another person.  Traveling on highways, local roads or within a neighborhood does not decrease the risk or change outcomes related to speeding.  Speeding is not worth your life or someone else’s life.

When you think of speeding, you normally think the only punishment you will get is a ticket and a fine. A ticket and a fine is just a minor consequence you can receive from speeding. Twenty-six percent (26%) of all traffic fatalities resulted from speeding which brought on many types of punishments.  The thought of getting into a car and driving over the legal speed limit creates a scenario of intentional harm to yourself and others.  On average, 800 people die per month because of a speeding accident which results in people dying or going to jail for vehicular manslaughter. 

There is always one question that will be asked when it comes to speeding, why did you do it? There are several reasons why people decide to speed every day.  One of the main reasons a person speeds is because they are late for work or an event.  Another reason is people become intoxicated and end up driving.  Both of those reasons are not acceptable and are preventable incidents.  More than 50% of drivers who are caught speeding usually have a Blood Alcohol Count (BAC) of 0.08% and it is the leading factor to why people are killed in speeding accidents.

Not everyone considers the smaller reasons to why a person might be speeding. People who get new cars or first start driving and want to show off for a couple friends tend to get caught for speeding. New drivers are most likely to get pulled over for speeding but not the most likely to cause a fatal car accident from speeding.  People between the ages of 21 to 24 are the most likely to be involved in a fatal car crash. It is sad to say but once a person turns 21 it seems like the speeding accidents become much more of a risk since that person is legally able to drink. 

About 3-4 years ago in my high school town of Hammonton, NJ, there was a really bad accident involving a couple of local kids who thought it was a good idea to race down a dark road. It was said that they were going in upwards of 100 miles per hour when one of the cars ended up flipping and killing the two people in the car. This example goes back to the point of newer/younger drivers who feel the need to do stupid stuff or show off for friends to make a point. Obeying the rules of the road are very important for the safety of everyone and should be followed.  You could be the most cautious driver but the risk of someone else driving carelessly doesn’t lessen the risk.  You don’t know if the other person was intoxicated or not, having a bad day, suffering from a medical condition or just being rebellious.  All of those conditions exist on the road whether you are on a highway or in your neighborhood.

Neighborhoods are one of the most active areas for cars. When you tend to think of a neighborhood you think of a community of people and a place where kids are always outside playing, people walking or jogging or other activities.  The traffic that comes through a neighborhood can be quite constant. Neighborhoods usually have a speed limit of 25 or lower, but nowadays it really seems like people tend to just completely disregard that limit and do what they want. It is becoming a growing problem in the world and quite frankly doesn’t make sense.

The phrase “Speeding through Neighborhoods” is a common phrase and easy to define, driving too fast on a residential street or neighborhood.  Seventy-three percent (73%) of people tend to speed through a neighborhood but rarely get caught for it. There is a strict 15 miles per hour speed limit in school zones, but I believe that a neighborhood is no different from a school zone. They may have different definitions, but is there are similarities.  A school zone and a neighborhood both contain kids and other people and activities going on locally.  A neighborhood speed limit should be dropped to 15 miles per hour, similar to a school zone speed limit to ensure the safety of people. 

Neighborhoods are supposed to be safe environments for people to live, start a family, or even raise a pet. The number of people I see speeding in a neighborhood is insane. People should not have to worry about whether or not there child can go outside without being at risk of being hit by a speeding car. That is the last thing on someone’s mind who lives in a neighborhood, but it does happen, at various times of the day and at the hands of someone making a bad decision. Police do not take speeding in a neighborhood as serious compared to a highway or a local road. Neighborhoods have more people and are at greater risk of something happening because of speeding due to the lack of control and not wanting to drive so slowly.

Speeding can be one of the most dangerous things a person can do while behind the wheel. One in every six drivers gets pulled over for speeding and receives a ticket which accumulates to over 41 million tickets per year. Most speeding stops occur on active roads but everyone over looks speeding in neighborhoods and developments. I am sure that police have pulled over people for speeding in neighborhoods but it is for sure a low percentage or because someone in the neighborhood called and complained. I feel it is necessary for police to give more attention to neighborhoods due to the fact that I see people speeding through my very own neighborhood every day.

Police will tend to just leave a speed tracker sign in neighborhoods when a report of people speeding comes in. That speeding tracker doesn’t do anything for a neighborhood because people will still continue to speed after the tracker is gone. Police are very strict with people speeding through areas where schools are located due to the kids during the day. Neighborhoods are basically 24 hour schools since kids are everywhere and are always playing outside. If you can pay close attention to school areas during the day I don’t see a problem with keeping a close watch on neighborhoods through electronic trackers or frequent drive throughs.

I understand that police have bigger situations they need to worry about but people deserve to know that speeding is being monitored where they live. I think that possibly keeping a police vehicle parked in neighborhoods even if the police officer isn’t in the car will make speeding go down tremendously. The police vehicle itself will be enough to scare people into slowing themselves down. It is a creative way that will not cause the police to use any resources for a problem that may not be as big as the ones happening today. You could even put a camera inside the police vehicle that will be able to record people when they are speeding and give the speed they were doing.

There are two ideas that I believe could really work.  Installing cameras on light polls around the neighborhood or having signs that can record speed of passing vehicles. The cameras on light polls would most likely be the cheaper route, but people can easily take the camera down or cover the front. By putting those high on the pole or on top of the light, you allow for the camera to be out of reach of people. The signs would also be a good idea because it is an invisible way to keep track of people who speed and be able to send the ticket via mail. The one problem with the sign idea is that it could possibly blow over but if you cement it down the ground real well it will not move.

A more aggressive approach to stopping speeding in neighborhoods could be very effective.  For example, having an electronic sign that states the speed limit and if you are speeding it will say “this is you final warning.” If you happen to still be speeding the electronic sign will dispense spikes that will force your car to stop speeding. Once the car hits the spikes they will be retracted back into the electronic sign. This is a more forceful way and easily can scare people into no longer speeding through a neighborhood. This could be used as like a last resort type of option if none of the previous options work.

This last idea that I have could possibly work but it might be a long shot. The installment of crosswalks throughout the neighborhood could prevent speeding. A lot of people tend to go for runs or walks throughout a neighborhood and sometimes they have to cross over the street. By installing crosswalks it allows for people to have a safe way to cross a street but cars are required by law to stop at a crosswalk if there are people waiting to cross. A crosswalk could be considered a speed bump just without the bump and would really emphasize the importance that there are people always walking or running. It could also give people who are driving a warning that you may have to stop for a person which would make people drive slower.

Neighborhoods are super active every day and the speed limit of 25 is just too high. Lowering the speed limit to 15 and putting up signs all throughout the neighborhood saying “children playing” or “active people,” could really slow people down. You could argue that it’s a low percentage that something happens in neighborhood because of speeding but I disagree. My reason for disagreeing is that I have watched with my own eyes people almost get hit by just standing on the side of the road or grabbing their mail. My neighbor’s dog was hit because of a speeding driver and it seemed like no matter how many complaints were filed, little got done. By lowering the speed limit you are telling people that 25 was not cutting it and the signs are relaying a message to drivers that a neighborhood is not a place to be speeding through. 

I believe that people really deserve to have stricter speeding limits in their neighborhoods. The littlest things can go a long way in preventing unnecessary injuries. One sign, high speed bump or just one car stop can make the difference in a person’s life. As a brother, a dog owner, and someone who wants to be a future parent, I really would like to see an increase in speed control in neighborhoods. If it can get under control now, injuries can be prevented and parents can feel better about letting kids play outside.  Having firsthand experience and just believing in what’s right for the people around me could hopefully play an important part in trying to get police departments everywhere to take notice. No one deserves to have a tragic accident happen to them, their neighbor or their loved one due to speeding in a neighborhood. 

Although kids play in backyards, they also tend to play in front of their house.  Parents try to not let their kids play out front unless they are out there with them to prevent any type of accident from happening. This can decrease the chance of a kid being injured due to someone speeding.  Having fenced backyards will also help to prevent kids from wandering into a busy street.  Parents play a big role in teaching kids about car and street safety.  It is important that kids learn at a young age about these safety tips and the consequences of not paying attention to them.  It is not to scare them, but to let kids know that being in or near a street can be dangerous. 

Speed bumps throughout a neighborhood can keep people from speeding. Speed bumps are also really low cost so it would be easier to install those than types of technology like cameras. Speed bumps also act like a warning that if you don’t stop speeding.  Your car could go flying and could possibly cause damage to the car or someone else’s car.   The damage would result in you losing money or ending up in a legal battle. Speed bumps make people think about whether to slow down or not.  Speed bumps also act like a stop sign if there is someone who might be looking to cross the street.  The speed bumps need to be a certain height in order to be effective and cause someone to think twice before going over the bump.

Neighborhood roads are almost always thin which is fantastic. The thin roads are more likely able to make cars go slower since the curb is closer and acts like a boundary for cars. Speeding is less common on thinner roads than compared to like a highway or a busy road since there is a ton of more room on those types of roads. This factor explains why police tend to direct more of their focus on speeding everywhere else than in a neighborhood. It also prevents speeding because cars are going to be in close proximity with each other and won’t want to have any accidents happen. Thinner roads also make cars easier to spot if they are speeding because if there are curves you can see a car going around that turn in record time. 

Bouncing off the thinner roads example you also have people who park their cars on the side of the road. This literally forces cars to slow down or else an accident will happen. The cars on the side of the road also act like a camera because if someone who is speeding hits a car it will be heard throughout the neighborhood and bring people out of their houses to look. If the person tries to drive away someone will have easily seen the car and can track the person down who did it. Neighborhoods are basically like high security areas because you can’t get away from doing anything without someone seeing it happen. It is very rare that speeding goes unnoticed in neighborhoods since people are always outside. 

Trying to add high technological devices to catch speeding in a neighborhood will cost a good bit of money. That money will have to be taken from the people in the town so that means higher taxes. Taxes already make people go nuts and raising that cost will make people more angry and cause people to act out and rebel. People really love their money and may not vote for adding more monitoring options to better the neighborhood especially if it is going to cost them more in taxes or out of pocket.  There is a way to create a neighborhood watch group which could allow people to voluntarily join and contribute to expenses to improve the safety of the neighborhood.  The neighborhood watch could possibly influence local government to help with costs or take on the total cost of monitoring.  Government will not automatically put cameras in place or signs up or install speed bumps unless there are many complaints from people in the neighborhood. 

The French put GPS tracking systems into their cars which sends the driver a ticket if they go over the speed limit.  We also know that speed is currently tracked by GPS apps on the phone and potentially tracked.  This could be the wave of the future with remote speed tracking.

Having a police officer living in the neighborhood is a plus and can be very effective when trying to ask for changes to improve safety. Seeing a police car in a neighborhood automatically makes people think, slow down and try to not get embarrassed or get a speeding ticket.  Police presence definitely helps but for those living in the neighborhood may become used to seeing that car and continue to speed.  Police officers take an oath to protect communities and expect the community to also obey the rules and report those that do not.  For example, if you see a car speeding, you can report the car’s license plate along with where and when it happened.  

Using natural resources within a neighborhood to help prevent speeding is less expensive than having to pay more money to install technology. The examples of using people in the neighborhood, parking cars on both sides of the road, installing speed bumps or thin roads all help to slow speeding cars down.  While a neighborhood may have a ton of problems that could be more important than speeding, the safety of people, kids and animals is very important and should be a priority.  People in a neighborhood contribute to protecting their neighborhood by obeying speed limits, report speeding, and communicate with local government on ways they could help keep their neighborhood safe and decrease the risk of people getting hurt.  As technology evolves and other tracking methods are identified, we continue to rely on people to help keep our neighborhood roads safe.

References

Amy.lee.ctr@dot.gov. (2019, December 12). Speeding. Retrieved from https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/speeding

Whalen, H. (2019, July 31). 5 Ways To Stop Speeding In Your Neighborhood. Retrieved from https://homealarmreport.com/safety/5-ways-stop-speeding/

Ioby. (2019, March 22). How can I slow down traffic on my street? Retrieved from https://blog.ioby.org/how-can-i-slow-down-traffic-on-my-street/

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