Raleigh City Council looking at anti-speeding campaign

Posted January 15, 2013 6:11 p.m. EST
Updated January 15, 2013 6:26 p.m. EST

— The Raleigh City Council is considering a measure to implement a campaign to slow drivers throughout the city after a recent study found that speeding is a problem and among the top complaints of residents.

Council members on Tuesday heard a presentation from a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill public relations class that conducted the survey of speeding patterns around the city.

About 34 percent of respondents said speeding was a concern on residential streets; 16 percent said it was a problem on Interstate 440; 13 percent said city streets and 12 percent said school zones.

The study suggests traffic tickets are not a deterrent, leading city leaders to look at an anti-speeding campaign to educate drivers.

"It's got to reach all the way down to the driver's education and the school system," said Scott Misner, an adjunct public relations professor at UNC who led the study.

Misner said speeding is an ingrained behavior in drivers and any campaign to slow them would likely last years.

Police issued more than 13,000 speeding citations last year, a majority of which went to men between the ages of 20 and 34, the study found. It also found that 70 percent of people surveyed admitted to speeding in the city.

Councilwoman Mary Ann Baldwin says a campaign is worth it.

"If we can raise the consciousness of motorists, then we've succeeded," she said.

Her own horror story prompted her to ask for the study.

"This car was flying over the hill. There was a blind spot there and there was total lack of awareness. It didn't expect to see me, but there I was," Baldwin said.

Her concerns mimic dozens of Raleigh residents, such as Cassandra Thomas, who have expressed them to the City Council.

"I drop my kids off every morning, and I have people almost literally run into children," Thomas said. "Ticketing is one aspect, but I think there are other measures that can be used to get people to slow down."

The UNC study and recommendations will now go before the City Council's Technology and Communication Committee for review.