KATIE ZERR: Laws are in place for good reason
Laws are laws and apply to everyone, despite what happens in some media-hyped trials. In order to live in a free country, we must obey the laws.
Not just those that are felonies, but those misdemeanor laws that are on the books because they have a purpose. Laws are made to keep the general population safe.
In our community, many people ignore laws.
Recent violations that have been observed show many residents are running stop signs, ignoring speed zones, making illegal turns and failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
First and foremost, the posted speed of 20 mph in the construction zone is for a reason. Those workers are very close to the flow of traffic and the space constraints of oncoming vehicles give a driver little room to react if something should happen. Mistakes are made, accidents happen and one of those workers could be in the path of an oncoming vehicle in a split second. The 20 mph speed limit is for everyone’s safety. The extra minute or two it takes to get through the construction zone is not that important, yet it seems getting from one place to another as fast as possible is more important than people.
With the advent of better brakes, vehicle stopping distances have reduced somewhat over the years, but it has to be remembered that, no matter how good the brakes and tires, the laws of physics don’t change. It takes a certain amount of time and space for a vehicle to come to a full stop. It is a complicated formula, but it simply means that even with better brakes, space is required to go from 30 mph to zero.
In fact, if a person’s reaction time is not immediate, it can take up to 40 feet to come to a complete stop at 20 mph; 75 feet at 30 mph and 120 feet at 40 mph.
These calculations include the number of feet it takes a person to react to a situation. Some people will react faster; some will freeze up and not react at all.
As we drive through the construction zone on Grand Crossing, there are a great number of variables that can cause a driver to be distracted, including large machinery being used in close proximity to the driving lanes. These distractions can also add to the danger of driving in this zone.
That is why it is posted at 20 mph.
Whatever it is that people are rushing to is not as important as the safety of those who are just doing their job or the children of this community.
Anyone who has been in an accident where injuries have occurred knows that the post-accident trauma can be as devastating as injury. Imagine being the person who strikes a worker or a child coming out from behind a piece of equipment on a bike. Imagine if that worker or child loses their life.
There is a reason the speed limit is posted at 20 mph.
It is also a state law that doubles fines for violations in a construction zone.
There are number of residents who don’t believe stop signs apply to them. It is not just the young drivers or those whose skills have diminished with age. Blowing a stop sign seems to be the norm here. Stop signs mean stop because conditions warrant taking a little more time to see that traffic is clear.
Double lines mean no passing and those lanes at the corners of Main Street and around schools mean that pedestrians have right-of-way. That means drivers need to stop their vehicles to let a pedestrian cross the street. It is the law, not just a courtesy.
We as drivers must remember that we have responsibility to others and that laws are made to ensure safety. With all of the other distractions inside the vehicle, from cell phones to passengers and on-board computers, driving safely is now more difficult than ever. Vehicles may include more safety features, but that does not mean we are less vulnerable to accidents
Remember it is a lot easier to obey laws, than it is to be responsible for ending a life because you ignored them.