Why all NJ towns should mandate court appearances for speeding (Opinion)
It shouldn't be any surprise that speeding is a concern in New Jersey. Our state is so fast-paced it's hard to even think we have the ability to slow down.
Unfortunately, that face-paced lifestyle leads to many dangerous situations on the road. Oftentimes drivers forget they're in a lower speed limit zone and tend to drive at dangerous speeds.
Many towns in the Garden State try to address this problem by implementing speed bumps, speed zones, or roundabouts as possible solutions to deter speeding. One New Jersey town, however, has taken it a step further.
In Monmouth County, Allentown will now be requiring court appearances for drivers caught and ticketed for speeding. It may seem aggressive, but it's a possible solution that's long overdue (Click here to read Dan Alexander's story regarding Allentown's new "speed enforcement zone").
In my opinion, this is a necessary move that other towns in New Jersey should also seriously consider. Here are just some of the reasons why those who speed should be forced to go to court.
Problems in residential zones
Neighborhoods frequently deal with this problem all too often. This is especially true for residential roads that connect one main roadway to another. It's not a highway, folks.
Drivers may use neighborhood streets as shortcuts to get where they need to go. Unfortunately, many of them seem to forget they're no longer on a highway.
New drivers? Commuters? Or someone else not from the area
More groups of drivers that tend to have a lead foot through residential zones are teens, commuters, and new drivers. For teens and new drivers, this can be due to the fact that they're still learning, or because they want to show off their sweet ride. And for commuters, it's possible someone's running late for a meeting.
Regardless of the reason, a day in court might make them think twice before flooring it where young kids play and people walk their dogs. Just follow the posted speed limit.
This one's obvious. Anyone who speeds in a school zone while school is in session should see a judge and explain why they were in such a hurry to put children's lives at risk.
Downtown and historic areas
As is the case in Allentown, a major part of implementing a speed enforcement zone is due to drivers passing through a bit too quickly a downtown area. Think about someone speeding through other downtown and historic areas such as Princeton, Red Bank, or Cape May?
It happens all the time when people get the opportunity. So why shouldn't they be forced to spend the day at the courthouse?
Maybe a good baseball or football game is happening. Or, maybe kids are playing at the jungle gym and are running around with excitement. There's a chance that someone, or something such as a ball, will end up heading toward the street.
Those signs to slow down aren't there for no reason. It's for safety, and all drivers should adhere to the posted limit.
This is another one where some drivers go a little too fast. And quite frankly, if someone feels the need for speed driving through a parking lot, they're definitely going to speed elsewhere.
I've witnessed people getting hit before in parking lots, and both times it was due to someone driving too fast. There's a lot going on in a parking lot that's easy to miss, so please, slow down.
Some roads may have hazards such as blind hills or sharp curves. On stretches like this, it would make sense to implement a speed enforcement zone.
During a state of emergency
A state of emergency doesn't always mean staying off the road. But it does mean to take extra care while traveling around the state when travel is allowed.
So it only makes sense to require all speeders to appear in court regardless of where the offense happened if there is a state of emergency. There's simply no excuse to drive excessively fast when the state is faced with a potentially serious situation.
With all of that said, it would make sense to have limitations as to how this should be enforced. Perhaps on highways, the threshold could be 10 over the speed limit, and in residential zones, the threshold could be five over.
And to be clear, this should not be considered a money grab for towns. Simply put, there are too many drivers who feel all our roads are racetracks, and they tend to treat them as such.
Perhaps the threat of going to court could deter some from driving too fast. Or maybe, some drivers have to go through this ordeal in order to force them to ease off the gas in the future.
And yes, there are some stupid offenses such as getting ticketed for license plate frames that should be eliminated. But trying to stop people from speeding is never one of them.
So what do you think? Should the rest of New Jersey follow Allentown's example with implementing speed enforcement zones? Let us know below.
Regardless of whether you think more towns in New Jersey should do this, it doesn't change the fact that some don't think lower speed limits apply to them. There's no rush, especially when safety's involved.