Slow down, save lives

This letter appeared in The Examiner, 17 March 2003:
Slow down, save lives

To the editor:

The Raytown PTA council is launching a "Keep Kids Alive Drive 25" campaign. The recent pedestrian death of Independence resident and Raytown postman James Fussell shows that speed kills.

Yard signs that encourage drivers to drive 25 are available at Hy-Vee on U.S. 350 and at KeepKidsAlive.com. When the signs are posted in several yards along a street, they have been shown to reduce traffic speed by about 6 miles per hour.

Does this make a difference? Data from the Federal Highway Safety Administration indicate that 5 percent of pedestrian-vehicle collisions at 20 mph result in fatalities. At 30 mph, there are 40 percent fatalities. Besides, slower drivers have a greater chance to avoid collisions in the first place.

This adds surprisingly little driving time. In driving my own child to school, I found that driving 20 mph rather than 30 mph on neighborhood streets added 23 seconds to the 7-minute trip. Twenty-three seconds for an eight- fold increase in safety is a pretty good tradeoff.

Brent Hugh
Raytown