Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

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Source: Santa Barbara Police Department

A new statewide initiative encourages drivers to “slow the fast down” and understand the dangers of speeding.

The Santa Barbara Police Department supports efforts by the California Office of Traffic Safety to address an emerging traffic safety issue: speeding.

“We are seeing changes in driving behavior, and the number of people traveling at excessive and extremely dangerous speeds is alarming,” Santa Barbara Police Sergeant Michael Brown said. “COVID-19 puts the value of protecting lives in perspective, and practicing safe driving is one simple way everyone can keep themselves and others safe.”

“Through education about shared responsibility and behavior changes, we hope to create an environment that is safe and equitable for all road users in our community,” Sergeant Brown added. Shared responsibility is a key component of the City of Santa Barbara’s Vision Zero strategy, which aims to eliminate all serious and fatal collisions from City Streets. Education and enforcement actions are an integral part of the four-pronged approach to Vision Zero, which focuses resources on Evaluation, Education, Enforcement and Engineering to prevent traffic-related serious injury or death in our City.

Excessive speeding went way up during the beginning of stay-at-home orders in March. Between March 19 and April 30, CHP officers issued 4,000 citations for speeding over 100 miles per hour, more than double (113%) from last year despite a steep decline in traffic volume.  Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31 of this year, CHP officers issued 4,851 citations for speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour, a 93% increase when compared to the same period last year. 

“The road is not a racetrack,” Sgt. Brown said. “The freeway is not the Autobahn. Follow a safe, legal speed.”

Speeding remains one of the main causes of crashes: in federal fiscal year 2017-18, speed was a factor in approximately 31% of all fatal and injury crashes in California.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Watcher237 Nov 23, 2020 01:02 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Here's a suggestion: start enforcing the existing laws. You would not have so many 'speeding' drivers if they started getting traffic tickets. Hardly ever see CHP enforcement while everyone is doing 80+. All it takes is a consistent enforcement of the established law. This is not currently happening on the scale needed.

Watcher237 Nov 23, 2020 05:25 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Good points all. However, an agency simply needs the funding required to accomplish their mission. If underfunded, needs a new mission of more funding. That what we elect the dweebs in Sacramento to deal with. Shouldn't be our problem.

PitMix Nov 23, 2020 04:04 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

CHP has 7600 officers to cover the whole state, 11,000 employees total. let's be optimistic and assume they are all available for speed enforcement. Working 12-hr shifts for 1/2 the week. 7600/2 shifts a day/ 2 coverage periods per week/58 counties. Works out to 33 officers per county per shift of coverage. We already pay $2.7Billion for this. How much would you like your taxes increased for this?

PitMix Nov 23, 2020 10:29 AM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Chip, I don't know how old you are, but think back to the way the freeways worked when you first started driving. Then think of the congestion that was occurring right before the pandemic when the 101 was slowing to a crawl in both directions during the afternoon commute. Then think of the 101 in 20 yrs with additional population. Do you really think you can build your way out of that mess?

The simple solution to this problem would be to build a world class rail system with double tracks and grade separated crossings all across this nation. 1) You could help the environment and climate change by using that system to transport goods intercity, and 2) It is much more efficient at moving large numbers of people to their destination. I'd never drive to LA and sit in traffic for hours again if I had any chance of reliably getting there on a train. But this can't happen with our current 3rd world rail system.

Either we are going to get serious about climate change, or we are going to be buried in our electric hummers. What a coffin that will be.

Sail380 Nov 23, 2020 02:16 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

There are programs in place for those who want to use them. I believe UCSB, Cottage and the city of Santa Barbara use this tool to create carpools and other tools for commuters

http://www.trafficsolutions.org/HTGT-SmartRide

PitMix Nov 23, 2020 12:55 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Sail, who are the biggest employers in SB? Cottage and UCSB, right? If they ran shuttle services from their local stations, wouldn't that save a bunch of gas, pollution, and stress? CSF, if we are looking forward to a future of never-ending pandemics, the human race is doomed anyway. Gotta plan for a future where vaccines protect us and we need to help our environment.

Sail380 Nov 23, 2020 11:21 AM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

The train idea is a little harder to do with most West Coast cities compared to the stack and packed East Coast. Most commuters would need two cars to make the rail work on our sprawling cities. One to drive to the station and after the train ride one to drive to the final destination. Besides how's California's over due, over budget rail to nowhere and Hawaii's own version doing?

dukemunson Nov 23, 2020 11:13 AM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

I couldn't agree more Pitmix (goodness..that sounds weird to say)! What we need is more regional rail lines and options! Instead of adding another lane on the freeway, we need another train track. And no, not the bullet train from LA to SF. Just good consistent options for regional travel. Locally, we need a run that goes consistently and conveniently from Camarillo to SB/Goleta (sure the 5am option is nice...but it's just impractical for huge swaths of travelers/workers).

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 23, 2020 10:42 AM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Public transportation is filthy. Particularly in the age of COVID, being cooped up with a bunch of strangers, unable to social distance and breathing recycled air for long periods of time seems like a terrible idea. There's a high probability that another new virus is just around the corner, so I think all future plans should keep this in mind.

Chip of SB Nov 23, 2020 10:06 AM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

This article references the autobahn as if it’s a bad thing. The autobahn is safer than our freeways despite much of it having no speed limit. There are many reasons for that, providing a great opportunity for us to improve highway safety. For one thing, the autobahn is built to a higher standard than our freeways. We should embark on a nationwide infrastructure project to expand and improve our freeways. There is no reason our country cannot have the best freeways in the world. This would provide a much needed stimulus to our economy, reduce traffic congestion and travel time, and perhaps most importantly it would save lives. Another important factor in autobahn safety is lane discipline. While we obsess over speed limits, the Germans obsess over lane discipline and orderly traffic flow. We need to add a dollar amount to all those “slower traffic keep right” signs along our freeways. Instead of having clumps of traffic, vast empty spaces in between, and frustrated drivers weaving through the lanes to pass, we could achieve a safer and more efficient traffic flow by enforcing lane discipline. If you drive slowly in the left lane, you are breaking the law and contributing to causing traffic accidents. I believe that by improving our freeways and re-allocating the resources dedicated to speed enforcement to to lane discipline, we could improve safety and simultaneously reduce congestion and travel time.

EastBeach Nov 24, 2020 06:59 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Lane discipline is nice but speeding is still an issue. As a long time commuter from SB to Goleta, I've noticed stark changes in driver behaviour during the pandemic. Freeway speeds have gone way up. It's now "normal" to drive 80+ in both the fast & middle lanes. And when there's lighter traffic, it's not unusual to see high speeds in all three lanes. The combination of high speeds and lower speed differentials makes it trickier to switch lanes (i.e. getting boxed in). Another thing I've noticed is a marked increase in pedal-to-the metal high acceleration and deceleration moves. This would make a good case study for a grad student in psychology.

bosco Nov 24, 2020 02:45 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Don't forget that in Germany and other European Countries getting a drivers license is considered a privilege with significant training involved. In comparison, getting a license in the US is extremely cheap and easy.

PitMix Nov 24, 2020 01:22 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Chip, one reason people drive slowly in the left lane is that the right lane is torn up by heavy truck traffic. Drive any right lane on the 101 in Montecito and you will see what I am talking about. And those lanes are reinforced for trucks and still degrade quickly. Are you saying I have to subject my car to excessive wear and tear just so I don't impede your speeding above the limit? Not sure I agree.

Chip of SB Nov 23, 2020 01:03 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Great point Mac. Adding adaptive speed limit systems in areas that are susceptible to slow traffic could be a game changer. Coming up on stopped traffic unexpectedly is extremely dangerous, and adaptive speed limit technology could go a long way towards addressing that problem.

macpuzl Nov 23, 2020 12:25 PM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

What helps the autobahn system work well is that they have adaptive speed limits. They actively monitor traffic, and broadcast real-time settings to speed limit signs suspended over the lanes, slowing traffic before it comes to a screeching, accident causing halt up ahead. The automatic ticketing systems there and on the autostrada in Italy are great.

SBTownie Nov 23, 2020 11:48 AM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Chip could not be more correct. Lane discipline is for some reason not used in California. Other states have just as much traffic and move it along speedily and at generally higher speeds than we do with just two lanes due to left-lane-passing-only laws, enforcement, and adherence. People who drive 65 in the fast lane, or 60 in the middle... or when people pace the car in the lane next to them, making it impossible to pass should be held responsible for creating unsafe driving conditions and traffic. If you're not passing, move over!

dukemunson Nov 23, 2020 11:17 AM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

It's a great point. Living on the Pass for most of my life I would say that the slow/clueless drivers are as big of a problem as the fast drivers. Start giving tickets for people going dangerously slow.

Simpleton Nov 23, 2020 11:06 AM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Chip, you are generally correct regarding the German Autobahn. I am sure that you are aware that while there are sections that have "no speed limit" there are many sections that have clearly defined speed limits (within towns, etc). And while you will see very few police on the highways, you will see on German Autobahns a tremendous amount of speed cameras that send a tickets to you via the mail. As you say, the Germans are very conscientious drivers and they almost never speed beyond a posted limit (when one exists) as they are nearly guaranteed a ticket from the ubiquitous cameras.

ChemicalSuperFreak Nov 23, 2020 10:13 AM
Slow the Fast Down: Public Encouraged to Follow Speed Limit

Chip, you're spot on. I was in France recently, and they also practice lane discipline. Everyone drives on the right lanes, only using the left lanes to pass. It's a pleasure to drive in many parts of Europe because they are very good drivers.

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