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Slow Down In School Zones

Article Date: 
26 August, 2011 (All day)

My name is Deputy Rob Taylor, and I am the deputy assigned as the School  Resource Officer for the Morgan School district. I’ve been a police officer for 7 years and have had a myriad of assignments throughout my career in Law Enforcement. I will be teaching the D.A.R.E program, drivers education, as well as other tasks assigned to be as the year goes on including Juvenile Investigations.

Last spring, I was aggressive in enforcing the speed limit in the school  zones. I’d like everyone to know that this year will be no different, and in fact, enforcement will be even tighter. 

Every road leading to the school campus is clearly marked as 20 MPH. Not many people realize this, but this 20 MPH rule is in effect 24/7. Last year, during the times when the buses were dropping off kids, and everyone was trying to not be late, I would routinely observe people drive 30 and 35 MPH in the 20 zone- that’s up to 15 miles per hour over the posted limit, and almost double the speed limit!

A vehicle traveling at 20 mph, is moving at 29.3 feet per second. It takes approximately 23 feet of travel distance to bring the vehicle to a  safe stop at 20 MPH. But how about if a child runs out in the road? By the time you realize the child is there (with an average reaction time of 1.5 seconds- that is the time your brain realizes there’s a problem, and it tells your foot to step on the brake), you have traveled about 44 feet with a total of 67 feet stopping distance in average conditions.

Lets take a look at a vehicle traveling at 10 MPH over the speed limit, or 30 MPH. 

You will be moving along at about 44 feet per second. You then need about 47 feet to bring the vehicle to a safe stop at 30 MPH. This, combined with your reaction time will add about 66 feet to your travel distance, with a total of 114 feet needed before you stop your car- almost double the stopping distance at only 10 MPH over!

On top of that, stopping distances are farther during wet or slick road conditions, inclement weather, and when the driver is distracted inside the vehicle or the vehicle has mechanical issues (like bad tires).

Why is this a problem? The faster you go, the longer it takes you to stop your vehicle. If a young child darts across the road in front of you (which can and WILL happen), you need to be able to safely stop your car to avoid hitting the child. 

The police don’t decide the speed limits- traffic engineers do. Our role  is to ensure motorists are following the law. The last thing we need is  a tragedy to happen because someone is late getting their child to school. 

With that, we will be doing extremely aggressive speed enforcement of the school zone in both Morgan and Mountain Green. A charge of speeding in a school zone is a MANDATORY court appearance. The purpose of this article is to give the citizens of Morgan County and guests fair warning of our intentions of enforcing speed limits, and to ultimately educate the motoring public and get everyone on the same page when it comes to speeding. We all need to do our part in ensuring the kids that go to our schools arrive alive, a goal we can all accomplish.

Questions or comments can be sent to me- my email address is rtaylor@morgan-county.net. 

 

Thanks for doing your part!