Most everyone has done it. Speeding! We are in a hurry, or just are not paying attention, and who makes up those silly speed limits anyway? Your Merrillville Police Department is teaming up with a couple of different agencies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to curb unsafe driving through the Speeding Slows You Down campaign from July 10 through July 31.
The goal is to keep drivers and passengers safe by raising awareness about the dangers of speeding and urging drivers to obey posted speed limits. Police will be on “high alert” during the campaign for speeding and unsafe drivers. We have all seen some of these distracted drivers on our roads. Speeding is not the only concern. Cars waiving or driving out of the traffic lane, drivers looking down, or worse TEXTING while driving is all very dangerous.
Speeding was the cause of 25% of all deaths in Indiana in 2021. The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) recorded 252 speed-related deaths in 2021, and a 15% increase in these deaths from 2021 to 2022. Data shows that in 2022, speeding killed 290 people in Indiana. Nearly 300 fatalities are projected for this year, according to the ICJI.
The Merrillville Town Council has been very active and involved in creating awareness about the speeding problem and has installed radar speed limit signs throughout the town to increase awareness among drivers that they are speeding. The signs have been proven to change the driving habits of drivers who see the signs by as much as 80 percent.
Last week, new ‘speed humps’ were installed inside the Foxmore subdivision on a street where speeders have been evident. The ‘humps’ are designed to make drivers slow down as they travel up and down the humps. They are not speed bumps, but rather designed to slow traffic, not to stop traffic or cause driving problems. The humps are placed in sets and each council district will be getting the speed humps installed in problem areas.
Under consideration now are ‘calming circles’ that can be placed in the middle of intersections causing drivers to slow down to curve around the circle. They are like a mini round-a-bout but not as large or demanding of drivers.
The council just this week discussed a variety of ways to increase the Merrillville Police force size which would allow more officers in the patrol division. This will be a focus in the upcoming budget preparations for 2024 which begins in the next several weeks.
Please slow down and be safe. My mother always preached to me, it’s better to arrive late than to speed and not possibly even arrive at all. Thanks, Mom for the great advice. I miss her! -Rick Bella, Town Council President, Ward 5 Representative