Valley speeders turn school zones into danger zones - CBS 5 - KPHO

Valley speeders turn school zones into danger zones

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GLENDALE, AZ (CBS5) -

The signs say 15 mph, but the truth is a lot of Valley drivers go much faster.

"They don't really pay attention to the school zone," said Jose Santiago, of Glendale. 

"With officers not being around, they do speed by," said parent Sally Morgan.

Speeding is a serious problem around the Valley, turning school zones into danger zones.

CBS5 wanted to see just how dangerous it can be driving in a school zone, so we set up an experiment with the help of Valley kids and the Glendale Police Dept.

Driving instructor Rob Smith and some fellow officers marked off the stopping distance you need to avoid running anyone over while CBS5 set up cardboard cutouts of children in the parking lot of the Westgate Shopping Center.

According to Smith, you need 22 feet to stop when you're going 15 mph.

"School zones are set at 15 mph for a reason, and that reason is the ability to stop in a panic situation," said Smith.

Smith was able to stop his vehicle in plenty of time, while traveling 15 mph.

However, while traveling at 20 mph, at least three of the cardboard cutout kids were hit.

"It's an excellent example of how small increments in speed can make a big differences," said Smith. "As your speed doubles, your stopping distance is going to quadruple."

Finally, Smith drove 10 miles above the speed limit and tried to stop on the same line.

The residential speed limit in most neighborhoods is 25 mph, but it is not a safe speed in a school zone, said Smith.

When Smith tried to slam on the brakes at 25 mph, the police car smashed into the cardboard cutouts of all the children.

If they were real children they would have likely suffered some type of serious or critical injury, or possibly been killed.

"In this day and age, 90-percent of drivers stopped will tell you they didn't realize they were doing what they were doing because of their phone," said traffic Officer Greg Tallant.

Studies show drivers are more likely to speed when their distracted.

Talking on the phone and texting are the biggest problems.

Smith said the more drivers pay attention in and out of school zones the safer everyone will be.

"We need to be protecting our kids, and the easiest way to control it is to control your speed in a school zone," said Smith.

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