COSMIX Zone Speeding Problem Continues In Colorado Springs
From KRDO.com website.COSMIX Zone Speeding Problem Continues In Colorado Springs
May 14, 2007 12:25 AM MDT by Scott Harrison
COLORADO SPRINGS - Speeding on I-25 through the COSMIX zone in Colorado Springs is an ongoing danger to construction workers and motorists alike. However, even hefty fines and stepped-up patrols have failed to get all of us to slow down.
One of the biggest reasons to avoid speeding through a highway work zone happened in August of 2006, just before Labor Day weekend. Authorities say the driver of an 18-wheeler failed to slow down on I-25 in south Pueblo County, causing a wreck which killed CDOT worker Charles Mather of Pueblo West. His funeral was a week later.
As a driver, you never want to live with the knowledge of causing such a tragedy. Yet we run that risk every time we speed through a construction zone. Colorado Springs traffic officers see it all the time in the I-25 COSMIX zone. Officer D.C. Moorman explains, "If we work here too long it will cause a big traffic jam, and that's not what we want to do, either."
Even the signs warning of fines being doubled for speeding, don't solve the problem. Take it from a driver who was pulled over herself. "Oh, that's not a deterrent. I don't think so," says Barb Wischhausen of Colorado Springs. "I think people actually speed up when we see those, because we already know the cops aren't on the highway." Wischhausen was ticketed for driving 20 miles over the 45 MPH speed limit. "I never got stopped by the police before, so this is kind of exciting, actually."
That's not the response police want to hear. However, local psychologist Dr. Gary Forrest has an interesting theory for why some drivers ignore the speed limit. "A small percentage of those people have impulse control problems, or difficulties just in general. They're hurried, they're impulsive, they take risks, they don't think things through." Yet Forrest says most speeders don't blatantly disregard the law, or believe they can get away with it. "I think enough people are distracted or maybe even preoccupied about other things in their life. Work, paying the bills, simply getting to work on time." Forrest doesn't expect much improvement and predicts the challenge for police won't get any easier.
Police Sgt. Mark Comte says, "We don't care if we get zero tickets, but we're not seeing that. Some of the people we get through here are repeat violators. Two or three tickets on the Interstate, and they're just not learning from the first ticket."
Some police departments have been known to park unoccupied vehicles in certain areas to discourage speeding. One type of a sign that seems effective is an electronic sign which measures your speed and uses flashing lights to warn you to slow down. However, the problem is many cities don't have the extra money or resources to put the signs in other places where they'd do the most good. For now, the best speeding deterrent is the driver's own conscience. Barb Wischhausen says she's convinced now. "Believe me, this is going to change my whole driving experience, believe me." That's what police want to hear.
There are other limitations on speeding enforcement as well. Police say it's more difficult to pull drivers over with so many lane closures in the COSMIX zone. Dr. Forrest says many drivers can afford to pay the fine, even if it's doubled. However, police say with 90% of I-25 traffic through town being local, drivers should know better.
Monday, May 14, 2007