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Test shows how dangerous speeding can be in school zone

By Christina Jensen
Published On: Feb 27 2014 05:06:26 PM CST

Not everyone obeys the 20 mph speed limit sign in a school zone – Idaho Falls police said they are catching speeding motorists in those zones on a regular basis.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Not everyone obeys the 20 mph speed limit sign in a school zone – Idaho Falls police said they are catching speeding motorists in those zones on a regular basis.

"It's amazing that people don't even notice that the sign is blinking and there are signs on the road," said Terri Liddle, a crosswalk guard at Falls Valley Elementary School. "I step up to the curb even when the kids aren't present to make myself noticeable so (drivers) know that there is a crosswalk here."

The police department said speeding is a serious problem in school zones. Right now, police are ticketing people going 10 mph over the speed limit.

To show how dangerous it can be driving in a school zone, we decided to set up a little experiment with the help of some parents and police officers.

Sgt. Dave Frie and traffic officer Michael Cosens marked off the stopping distance you need to avoid running anyone over.

Cardboard targets with pictures of children were also set up in the parking lot of Sam's Club.

City engineer Kent Fugal said there are national standards set for stopping distance, and they're specified for a reason.

"Traveling at 20 miles per hour – once a driver has actually applied the brakes, it's going to take about 40 feet to stop," said Fugal.

At 20 mph, Cosens was able to stop his vehicle in plenty of time, but he was not able to stop in time at 25 mph.

"More than likely there is going to be serious injuries on the two girls, and the boy is going to have some sort of injuries," he said, referencing the cardboard targets. "If we were doing 20 our chances of hitting any of them would have been significantly reduced."

Finally, Cosens drove 30 miles per hour and stopped at the same line.

When Cosens slammed on his brakes, the police car smashed into all of the cardboard targets.

"These children at 30 mph would more than likely suffer serious injuries or worse," he said.

Cosens also said pedestrians play a role and should follow traffic laws just as much as motorists.

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