Q Please ask your readers: What would it take for drivers to slow down when driving in residential neighborhoods? What is so important waiting for them that they feel the need to speed up and risk hitting someone? Is being home five minutes earlier worth running someone over?
Slow down, people. Your couch can wait!
A So many readers have the same complaint. Most cities no longer install speed humps, and their traffic units have been cut back. However, one city is doing something about this issue.
Q Gary, how do you think your readers would react to this? Here in Phoenix, there are a lot of red-light cameras at intersections. In addition, Phoenix police have plain white vans that are parked on the side of the roads, ranging from arterials to 15-mph school zones, with speed-enforcement cameras. Never know where these vans will show up. They are clearly labeled for photo speed enforcement, but they tend to blend into the background and you don't see them or the very small curbside sign they place behind the unit announcing its presence.
A At one time, San Jose and Campbell had similar programs, but a lawsuit ensued and the courts deemed them illegal. Efforts to change state law have proved futile.
However, red-light cameras are falling out of favor. For the first time since cameras were introduced in the 1980s, the number of areas with red-light cameras in the United States has dropped from about 700 in 2011 to 500 at the end of 2013.
Q I agree with many of your readers regarding inattentive drivers that do not yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, eating while driving, text messaging, talking on the cellphone, etc. There is an easy solution: Allow law enforcement to enforce the speed limit laws by using mobile cameras like is being done in Europe. When I was driving in Scotland, I had to continually concentrate on knowing what the posted speed limit is and keep my speed within the limit. There is no way I could do this and use my phone for calling or texting. Also, I found it so much safer to drive with everyone driving the same speed. Why not do something like this in California?
A And ...
Q Here's another topic: unmanned cameras sending tickets. I know they are controversial here, but in other countries are totally legal and useful. Hey, if you're speeding (driving erratically, etc.), you are speeding. The proof is in front of you. Pay up and shut up.
A California considered this years ago, but opposition killed the plan.
Q Gary, I live in a cul-de-sac where a couple of neighbors pretty consistently hit 50-60 mph. Any advice on how to slow them down, short of standing in the street with a baseball bat?
A Call your city's traffic unit and request enforcement. Then maybe get a good whiffle-ball bat.