Speed limits need to be better enforced

Within the last year or so, at least two letters to the editor have been submitted to the Times-Republican in reference to Marshalltown’s dangerous streets. I would like to add my voice to the chorus. It is no secret that many people view speed limits as mere suggestions rather than laws. Some people with this mindset believe that it is their right to drive at interstate speeds through residential areas, as happens on East Nevada Street several times per week. Others feel free to drive at speeds of “only” 45-60 mph on this street, and these drivers are behind the wheel of seemingly every fourth or fifth vehicle.

Since children and pets have been known to wander into the streets of residential areas, one would think that the police would be interested in keeping driving speeds at appropriate levels. After all, defensive driving, which is what is needed to avoid hitting children or animals, is possible only at slower, legal speeds. However, given that letters similar to mine have been written by people in various parts of town, it is evident that there is very little enforcement of our speed limits throughout Marshalltown. Further evidence of police indifference to our speed limits is that although charges like driving while barred, driving without a license and driving without insurance are very often reported in the Times-Republican, speeding violations are rarely reported.

In the last week, two of my neighbors have lost their pets to vehicle strikes. The pets would likely be alive today, and the families who lost them would be without heartache, if the vehicles that struck them had been driving more slowly. Neither human nor animal deserves to be hit by a car. In order to minimize this possibility, we need enforcement of our speed limits, and we need it now. Since average lead-footed drivers cannot be trusted to drive at reasonable speeds, it is time for the police to give them a reason to do so. I mentioned above that many people think of speed limits as suggested traveling speeds rather than laws that should be followed to the letter. Unfortunately, the police seem to be of the same mindset. This needs to change now.