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Letter to the Editor - April 3

April 03, 2012

Speed cameras a start, but student safety requires more

To the editor:

I have lived in Hagerstown for only a few years and have been amazed by the lack of concern of drivers in school zones. I cannot imagine what drivers are thinking as they speed through school zones during restricted hours. Personally, I don’t care how fast you drive on Interstate 70 or 81, however when children are present, putting them at risk is inexcusable.

I travel through the school zone on Northern Avenue each morning and follow the posted speed limit. I am baffled at being passed by parents rushing to drop their children off at the school. Do they only care about their own children?

I’ve been passed by school buses speeding. I have even been passed by Hagerstown Police cars. I reported the school bus that was speeding to the school system. They shared my concern and assured me the driver would be reprimanded. In trying to talk to the Hagerstown Police Department about the poor example of its officers, I was put in voicemail and never received a return call.

I was thrilled to learn of the speed cameras being installed in the school zone on Northern Avenue. The speed cameras are a great way to potentially help save a child from being hurt or killed. However, a front page story in The Herald-Mail (March 14) indicated that speed-enforcement cameras will only engage at 12 mph over the posted speed limit and the fine is similar to a parking ticket at only $35. How disappointing. You can now drive 44 percent faster than the posted limit in a school zone with almost no consequences.

The stopping distance of a car at 25 mph is 85 feet. At 35 mph, the distance is 136 feet, which might not seem like too much of an increase, however when a child runs in front of your car without looking, I think you would be very happy to have the extra 51 feet of stopping distance.

Will it take a Herald-Mail headline of “Child struck and killed in school zone” to have this community realize nothing is more important than protecting our children?

Mark Barbernitz
Hagerstown

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