October 24, 2011 in City

Getting There: Survey finds speeders rely on ‘buffer zone’

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Fair warning

Work to repair five miles of Interstate 90 from downtown Spokane to the top of the Sunset Hill is continuing with lane restrictions in place.

Workers are replacing damaged concrete, repairing the Latah Creek bridge and grinding down ruts caused by studded tires.

A majority of drivers in Washington and Oregon believe they can get away with speeding as long as they don’t get too heavy with the lead foot.

A new poll by PEMCO Insurance shows that 54 percent of Washington drivers believe law-enforcement officers will tolerate speeding up to a point. But they believe that “freeway buffer zone” is fairly small, PEMCO reports: Fifty-nine percent believe drivers can go just 4 mph or less over the limit and not get pulled over.

In Oregon, 64 percent of drivers think they can get away with speeding. And more than half of Oregon drivers believe they can go up to 9 mph over the limit and not be ticketed.

Part of the difference in attitudes between the two states may be explained by the different speed, said Jon Osterberg of PEMCO. The top freeway speed limit in Oregon is 65 mph, compared with 70 mph in Washington.

In both states, nine out of 10 drivers admit they’ve exceeded the speed limit at least once.

Half of drivers say they speed at least some of the time.

The scientific poll involved interviews with 600 drivers in each state.

“It seems obvious to us as drivers that very few people drive the speed limit,” Osterberg said.

Many drivers apparently believe that because other drivers are speeding, they can, too.

Of the reasons for listed for speeding, 68 percent said they do it to keep up with traffic while 28 percent said they were not paying attention. Only 2 percent admitted they speed because they can get away with it.

People with incomes of more than $50,000 a year were more likely to speed, as were drivers under 35, according to the poll.

Experts have long pointed out that the risk of death or serious injury grows as the vehicle travels faster.

Driver’s first month riskiest

A separate study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety showed that teen drivers in North Carolina were 50 percent more likely to have an accident in their first month of driving than after they had a year of driving experience.

Transportation open house

An open house meeting on transportation improvements in downtown Spokane and adjacent neighborhoods will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The open house will take place on the Riverpoint campus at the South Campus Facility, 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.

Agency staff members will bring information about improving transportation in the University District and East Sprague Avenue corridor and along the Division Street “gateway” corridor.

In addition, a proposed high-performance bus or trolley line running from east to west downtown will be discussed along with revitalization on North Monroe Street and the Inland Pacific Hub project for business development.

More corridor work begins

Work has started on an interchange at Parksmith Road that will be part of the new North Spokane Corridor.

Max J. Kuney Co. of Spokane is the prime contractor on the $6.9 million project financed through federal economic stimulus money. Completion of the interchange near Mead is expected by the middle of next year.

In other construction under way:

• Work to repair five miles of Interstate 90 from downtown Spokane to the top of the Sunset Hill is continuing with lane restrictions in place.

Workers are replacing damaged concrete, repairing the Latah Creek bridge and grinding down ruts caused by studded tires.

• The Washington State Department of Transportation is warning motorists that the westbound off-ramp on I-90 at Stateline will now require drivers to stop at Idaho Road.

• The small Columbia River ferry at Keller on state Highway 21 will be out of service from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday for vessel maintenance.

• State Highway 20 near Dalkena will be closed Tuesday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. for repairs on the bridge crossing at Davis Creek.

A detour will take traffic around the site.

• In Spokane, crews have reopened Upriver Drive from Rebecca Street to Frederick Avenue following sewer installation.

• Spokane Valley officials report that the intersection of Broadway Avenue and Pines Road will be reduced to one lane of traffic in all directions from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. today through Thursday.


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