I often see "Drive like your kids live here" signs posted in Bellingham yards. If you speed through a residential neighborhood and hit someone with your vehicle, is it really an “accident”? Sure, you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, but you were, in fact, breaking the law, and driving dangerously. Children can come out of nowhere. When you were a child, did you think about “safety first” when playing in your front yard? It's a sad fact that every day motor vehicles kill more kids than any disease.
Residential areas are where people live, raise their families, and enjoy the comforts of their homes. If drivers follow the rules and drive under the legal speed limit, they should theoretically have enough time to stop if a child or pet runs into the street. But there is no substitute for caution!
Residential areas in Washington have a 25 mile per hour speed limit. However, as this column by Doug Dahl, Target Zero Manager for the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force explains, some compelling data show that it should be lowered.
When hit by a car, pedestrian survival is directly related to the speed of impact. A traffic study in the UK (the Europeans are way ahead of us in traffic safety) found that humans have a 95% survival rate when struck at 20 MPH, but that drops to a 55% rate at 30 MPH. At 40 MPH, only about 15% of pedestrians survive a confrontation with a car.When hit by a car, pedestrian survival is directly related to the speed of impact. A traffic study in the UK (the Europeans are way ahead of us in traffic safety) found that humans have a 95% survival rate when struck at 20 MPH, but that drops to a 55% rate at 30 MPH. At 40 MPH, only about 15% of pedestrians survive a confrontation with a car.
The Risks to Others: It’s Not Worth Speeding
Disturbingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that most people who are speeding through residential areas actually live in the neighborhood! Kids are regularly playing in close proximity to moving vehicles in neighborhood streets. You might be eager to come home after work, but that’s no excuse if a child is hit and seriously injured. If you hit a child, the likelihood of death is higher than adults.
It’s been said, and we’ll say it again: be safe, not sorry!
Driver Behavior Makes All the Difference
Driver behavior is crucial to safety in residential neighborhoods.
- Never drive distracted, like the distracted driver in this case result tragically learned.
- When you’re driving, go slow enough to see and respond to every new circumstance.
- Look under parked cars, and you may see children’s feet from the sidewalk, though you can’t see them otherwise.
- If it’s dark, take another 10 mph off your speed, just in case.
In short, take every precaution necessary to avoid bringing tragedy to your own neighborhood.
If a speeding driver hurt you, your child, or a neighbor, reach out to Bill Coats Law. We know how confusing and emotional a pedestrian accident can be for our Bellingham neighbors. Call us today at (360) 392-2833 for a free consultation.