Speeding: A Victimless Crime? Eric DePoe
uring the recent municipal election campaign, the most common problem that residents raised was speeding. Speeding is a problem throughout Stone Mills. In every village, and on most rural roads, people complained that traffic was moving too fast. But surely this is a victimless crime. Yes, people go too fast and endanger themselves. The effects of car crashes on drivers and pedestrians are well known. We also know that the greater the speed, the greater the stopping distance. But surely this is a problem for the drivers and their passengers, not something that the public needs to be concerned about. Most people now realize that speeding is a social problem. Among the most vocal critics of speeders are parents of small children. They are naturally worried about the safety of their kids. Speeding increases the danger for animals as well as small children because speeding vehicles take longer to stop. Parents aren’t the only ones who dislike speeding. Many others are also concerned, like people who walk their dogs along rural roads or walk to the store in villages where there are few sidewalks. Less well known are the social problems that speeding creates. Parents are more likely to have their children play in backyards, rather than let them venture out into the speeders’ domain. This stifles social play and turns family life inward rather than towards the community. It divides neighbourhoods by discouraging people from socializing with their neighbours across high-speed streets. This fractures our communities.
a joke or part of a funny story about how I got home after that wild party. We have to develop the same attitude towards speeding. What can we do as individuals? The first, best thing we can all do is slow down. This takes us from being part of the problem and makes us part of the solution. It also forces the cars behind us to slow down, and sets a good example. Obey posted limits. Remember that when you pass a “speed limit begins” sign outside a village that means you are ALREADY supposed to be travelling that speed, not just starting to slow down. What could council do? Traffic calming measures should be put in place in villages and on long straight stretches of road where speeding is a problem. Road narrowing, signs, pinch points, one-way streets, and speed bumps should all be considered. Enforcement of speed limits should be more evident and more frequent. Speeding tickets are effective! Steps have already been made to increase enforcement by councillors, but more needs to be done. Let’s call our councillors to make sure they stay with this issue until it is solved. For too long we have put up with this troublesome problem. Speeding is dangerous, socially divisive, and just plain inconsiderate. Let’s stop this bad behaviour, starting with ourselves and our neighbours.
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Speeding is difficult to talk about, and difficult to control because it is socially acceptable. Drunk driving used to be acceptable, but attitudes have changed, and now most people realize the dangers of drinking and driving. It’s no longer
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