Oblivious to warnings, drivers still speed through school zones

By Staff
SLOW IT DOWN  Drivers passing through a 15 mph school zone on Eighth Street and 44th Avenue near Carver Middle School didn't bother slowing down for the posted speed limit sign or for the Meridian Police Department's speed detector. The 15 mph speed limit is mandated during drop off and pick up times. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Aug. 26, 2001
A survey by The Meridian Star indicates that drivers routinely violate flashing warning lights and posted speed limits in school zones during peak periods when children are present.
In a 10-minute period beginning at 7:35 a.m. last Friday, all 49 motorists observed traveling west on Eighth Street near Carver Middle School ignored the school zone's 15 mph speed limit, and 38 of the 49 were moving faster than the street's posted 35 mph speed limit.
One vehicle was clocked at 59 mph, and four school buses exceeded the 35 mph limit. One school bus was clocked at 46 mph. No drivers adhered to the 15 mph speed limit. The average speed of violators was 44 mph.
Based on their own observations, Meridian police are re-issuing a warning that drivers slow down in school zones or pay the price.
Police issued a warning to motorists last school year after Capt. Tommy Miller of the department's traffic division noticed many motorists in violation of school speed zone laws.
Johnson said there will be no exceptions and no set patrol schedule, so motorists will not know where radar will be conducted.
Johnson said he knew a problem existed but was surprised to learn the results of a survey conducted in a school zone by The Star.
For that survey, police placed a speed detector at the intersection of 44th Avenue and Eighth Street, where many of Carver Middle School's 250 walkers cross to school.
Johnson said it's fortunate no one has been injured this year.
Johnson said a volunteer crossing guard program with parents monitoring the school zones should be implemented in all school zones without such existing programs.
According to police officials, the motorist traveling at 59 mph through the 15 mph zone would have been fined $110 if caught, and the drivers traveling at 44 mph would have had to pay $95 each had they been ticketed.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for the Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3236, or e-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.