Student drivers need to slow down after school

Hunter Magee, Writer

After school as students are waiting to be picked up by parents, one can often hear the faint sound of an engine approaching but then it suddenly “pops” and speeds up, nearly colliding into another car exiting the school. Sure, teenagers are in a hurry to get away from school after seven long hours; however, they aren’t going to get home quickly if they end up having a collision. In such a situation, they would have to wait for the police to arrive and possibly medical services. According to the school’s resource officer Sharalyn Fichtl, the student driver might be fined and/or have his or her license delayed, and he or she could even suffer lifelong injuries. It is more important to be safe than to get home faster.

One afternoon as I was waiting to be picked up, a student leaving the high school nearly collided with another driver on Milrany Lane. Even though speed bumps have been installed, the student flew over them and failed to come to a complete stop when he reached the road. He nearly crashed into the car and left tire marks behind.

Currently, a staff member does monitor the front of the school each afternoon near the flagpoles. When Officer Fichtl is available, she does also park alongside Milrany Lane to watch students leaving school. If she is tending to other duties, then Chief Kelly Davidson or one of the city’s cops fills in for her, and if no officer is available, then exterior cameras can often catch speeding drivers.

While there are two speed bumps along the road to the south student parking lot (of which one is currently broken), there is no posted speed limit sign.

“If the speed limit isn’t posted, it’s ‘prima facie’–in other words, the state doesn’t have to post it because you should know it from driver’s ed,” Officer Fichtl said.

When the speed limit is not posted, all roadways in Texas have a default speed limit. For residential streets, it is 30 mph; alleys and parking lots, 15 mph; interstates, 70 mph, according to the Texas Administrative Code.

I believe that the school should take more steps in improving the safety such as putting speed bumps closer to the exits instead of the beginnings of the parking lots. Administration and the police department should also hammer down on students that drive recklessly by suspending their driving privileges on campus. They should also add more speed bumps or fix the current ones that are broken.

Carpooling and walking home from school needs to be a lot safer without the hazards of speeding drivers on school property.