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Speeding is risky behavior

Daily Staff Writer

We are all in a hurry. Our fast-paced society promotes and often demands the better use of time through improved means of travel and communication. At every turn we are bombarded with advertisements for faster Internet connections, better designed aircraft, more advanced auto engines, futuristic cell phones, even coffee and fast food stands. The ever-increasing burdens on our daily lives have often pushed us into a hyperactive mode where we can’t stop and smell the roses.Law enforcement officers confront this issue when dealing with speeders in residential neighborhoods. It’s a major concern for citizens and community groups, largely because of the risk to children. Cars speeding through neighborhoods not only make parents fear for their children’s safety, it also makes pedestrians and bicyclists fear for their own well-being. It increases the risk of accidents and property damage, and always having to look over your shoulder when you hear a car approach reduces the pleasure of that evening walk.Unfortunately, I believe there is a perception that law enforcement is not doing enough to reduce this common and sometimes deadly issue. The reality is that aside from having a large traffic enforcement task force with a patrolman on every corner, most of the enforcement techniques are short-lived and have limited effectiveness. I call it the “one-minute rule.” One minute after a patrolman leaves a speed enforcement area, motorists usually start increasing their speed. It’s a visual thing.In many cultures speeding is heavily promoted, which gives it a general positive social image. Car advertisements often show driving that would be unsafe for the average driver on real roads. Most drivers do not think speeding is particularly dangerous or a serious offense – except in areas where children are present, and even then our minds are often multi-tasking to the point we do not realize we are driving at Mach 1 through a school zone. Spring is here, the roads are clear of snow and ice. The days are warmer and getting longer. Many of us will be spending more time outdoors with our family, friends or pets, enjoying some of the reasons we call this county home. Anyone who drives a car should be aware of the increase in activity in our neighborhoods, around playgrounds and others centers of outdoor activity.If you do get pulled over by a law enforcement officer for speeding, you could be issued a traffic citation with fines of up to $110 and four points against your license. Officers sometimes hear a motorist say, “Why aren’t you out catching the real law breakers?” The officer may reply, “I am, right here.” This, too, is part of our job and exceeding the posted speed limit is against the law. It is a gentle reminder, and is far better than being charged with vehicular homicide.Let’s all increase our awareness of where we are, what we are doing and who is around us. We are all depending on each other to be responsible motorists because this is our neighborhood.Eagle County Sheriff Joe Hoy writes regular safety columns. He can be reached at 328-8509.Vail, Colorado


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