We consider Sammamish a safe city full of responsible residents. Still, it’s no surprise that a story in today’s Reporter describes drivers speeding, even in school zones.
We’ve all done that after all – most likely from inattention rather than being a conscious scofflaw. The bottom line, of course, that this truly is an unsafe practice.
As recounted by staff writer Kevin Endejan, Sammamish Police officer Ryan Olmsted’s job as the city’s new traffic officer puts him up close every day with people driving past school buses with flashing lights and people going more than 20 mph in a school zone when children are present.
The danger is obvious: “”These kids are not thinking about watching for cars,” Olmsted says “If we’re not looking out for them, and they’re jumping into traffic, that’s not good.”
While we all know to be aware of kids, schools and crosswalks, most of us probably don’t know or remember the facts about cars and speed.
According to statistics from the King County Sheriff’s Office, it takes a car traveling at 25 mph 84.7 feet to see an obstacle, react and come to a full stop. A car traveling at 40 mph takes 164 feet. As the Endejan’s story notes, that’s roughly half the length of a football field to react and stop.
We included a list of reminders in the story, but here they are again in case you missed them:
n It is against the law to pass a stopped school bus while its lights are flashing and stop arm is extended. You don’t have to stop on roadways with physical dividers, like a barrier or a median.
n You must stop for pedestrians at crosswalks; it’s the state law.
n Children are unpredictable so always be on the lookout for pedestrians.
n Watch for changes in speed limits. As Olmsted notes, it only takes one child to be in a school zone for that lower speed limit to take effect.
We all need to remind ourselves that it’s more easy these days to be districted while driving. That’s always a concern, but so much more now that schools are back in session.
– Craig Groshart, Issaquah & Sammamish Reporter