Citizens on radar patrol

Agencies involve volunteers to address a common complaint


     Often neighborhood volunteers find out about a program when they call with a complaint.

     Shoreline keeps citizens informed of its Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program through a city newsletter mailed with every utility bill. Web sites also can advertise a program.

Overall traffic safety

     Sometimes after an educational effort like neighborhood speed monitoring, speeds increase over time and citizens may need to go out with radar guns again. Other times, a different solution may be required.

     In Shoreline, Fagerstrom says for the most part, citizens have been satisfied with portable radar trailers, which stay in one location for a couple days before being rotated. But, portable radar trailers or radar reader boards aren't always the answer or the only answer either. Enforcement may be required.

     Shoreline's NTSP has an annual budget specifically allocated to the police department for traffic enforcement on neighborhood streets. Police officers do this work on overtime, which is helpful because they are able to focus on enforcement for a particular street without being called away for other services. They typically stay at a site for two to four hours regardless of how much traffic they see on the street, and then issue a report on what they observed.

     When a program shifts into the enforcement phase, Fagerstrom points out that invariably, one of the first people stopped is one of the neighbors who had originally complained about speeding and is now embarrassed.

     In fact, most people caught speeding live right in the neighborhood, reports KKAD25.

     Usually, the solution to a speeding problem starts with education and enforcement, but if those efforts don't work, physical devices, such as speed humps or traffic circles, may need to be considered. A neighborhood speed monitoring program is just one tool that can be used to help citizens slow down.

     To agencies looking to set up their own speed monitoring programs, McCammon advises, "Take the aspects of other programs that work for your city and department, and incorporate them into a workable program for your agency."

     Citizens can then realize cars probably aren't zooming by their homes at 100 mph, but they might be going 40 in a 25 mph zone. If they are, that's a problem everyone needs to address.

     Rebecca Kanable has been writing about law enforcement topics for more than a decade. A Wisconsin resident, she can be reached at kanable@charter.net.

What's the big deal? Speeding in residential neighborhoods is 'a big deal'

     When a driver becomes familiar with a street after driving it day after day, he may drive faster than he realizes. It's not unusual for speeders to be clocked in excess of 40 mph (and even 50 mph, on occasion) in 25 mph zones, according to Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 (KKAD25). A driver might be tempted to ask, "What's the big deal?"

     The big deal is speeding extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle.

     KKAD25 reports that according to NHSTA:

  • At 20 mph, the total stopping distance needed is 69 feet.
  • At 30 mph, the distance needed is 123 feet.
  • At 40 mph, the distance needed is 189 feet — which may not be enough distance and time to avoid hitting an object or pedestrian.

     If a motorist hits a pedestrian:

  • At 20 mph, 5 percent will die.
  • At 30 mph, 45 percent will die.
  • At 40 mph, 85 percent will die.
Keep Kids Alive Drive 25:

     A non-profit organization founded in the summer of 1998, Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 is a safety campaign targeting observance of the residential speed limit. In most towns and cities throughout the United States the residential speed limit is 25 mph.

     Visit www.keepkidsalivedrive25.org for more information.

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