With the recent and heartbreaking death of movie star Paul Walker, the topic of speeding and its potentially fatal outcome cannot be ignored. According to the LA Times, speed may have indeed been a factor in causing this tragic accident on a quiet road with a 45mph speed limit. A road full of warning signs alerting drivers to slow down as they approach an uphill curve… the same uphill curve near the site of the accident.
In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracked 10,395 lives lost to speeding, which equates to 32% of all fatal car crashes. More than 900 people a year die and nearly 2,000 are injured as a result of red light running, with half of the fatalities being pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles who are hit by red light runners, not the red light runners themselves. And as we saw from the video footage on Safe Communities Day, the risk for casualties is high and the outcome terrifying.
How does all of this relate to the drivers of Scottsdale? Photo radar, a subject hotly debated when the cameras were first introduced and still a source of discussion today. As a former member of the Lead Foot club, I know all too well the feeling of panic that ensues when running late and how it seems reasonable to speed in order to get to the desired location on time. However, and as much as fast drivers will hate to admit it, speeding rarely gets you to your destination more than a minute or two quicker than if you hadn’t sped to begin with.
“But will pushing the speed limit up 5mph really make a difference?” you ask. “What about 10? What about 20?” We fundamentally know that speed limits are put in place because they are the designated safest speed at which to travel a road– is getting somewhere a minute or two faster so vital that it’s worth putting your life and the lives of the others at risk?
As annoying as photo radar can seem, it’s not just a quick way for the City of Scottsdale to make money – it really does make our roads safer. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anywhere I need to be that justifies driving at a speed that could potentially cause harm. In summation: slow the [bleep] down.