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The Need for Speed

The Need for Speed The Need for Speed

Radar captures data of 50K speeding vehicles, shows 18% of speeders traveled above 31 mph

by Emma DiMaggio

Communications Manager

Data from Leisure World’s speed radar signs show that 35% of vehicles are traveling above the community-wide 25 mile per hour speed limit. The speed radars signs were installed in November 2023 in an effort to remind drivers to slow down. The bright yellow signs, which are installed on North Del Monte Drive, North St. Andrews Drive and South St. Andrews Drive, display an approaching vehicle’s speed and flash when that speed exceeds 25 miles per hour. The signs also record passing speeds for later analysis.

Their installation was partly a response to chronic speeding within the community, which endangers pedestrians and other vehicles along the speeder’s path. A large body of research has shown that display boards of this type are effective in reducing vehicle speeds by up to 10 miles per hour.

Since the three radar signs went live in December, they have recorded a total 52,737 vehicles traveling above Leisure World’s community-wide speed limit of 25 miles per hour.

Of those vehicles traveling above the speed limit, 18% were traveling at or above 31 miles per hour—a total 9,975 drivers.

From radar sign data, it is impossible to determine whether high-speed drivers were behind the wheel of an ambulance or a passenger vehicle.

However, the data paints a picture of vehicular speed across Leisure World, which at times exceeded 45 miles per hour. For example, in the span of two months, the radar sign on Canoe Brook Drive recorded 49 vehicles traveling at or above 40 miles per hour, nearly double the community speed limit.

According to Security Director Victor Rocha, speed has been a contributing factor in some of the vehicle collisions inside the community, which have led to injuries of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

In 2021, speeding fatalities in the United States reached a 14year high. That year, nearly one third of all traffic deaths in the United States were due in some part to speeding, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.

The GRF Board has taken steps to slow down drivers. In addition to the speed radar signs, speed cushions were installed on northbound Del Monte Drive near Sunningdale Road in late December. Unlike speed bumps, speed cushions include wheel cut-outs to allow large vehicles like fire engines to pass unaffected, while reducing passenger car speeds.

Safety isn’t the only dimension to this issue. In a Jan. 11 editorial, GRF Director Maureen Habel highlighted the fiscal impacts of unsafe driving.

She explained that GRF’s insurance premiums had risen from $3.29 million to $5.49 million this year “primarily due to huge increases in liability and property damage coverage,” attributed in part to “claims due to motor vehicle accidents.”

The Seal Beach Police Department is solely responsible for enforcing speed limits in Leisure World. However, it is each person’s individual duty to follow traffic laws and do their part towards making Leisure World a safe place to live.

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