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Ridiculous 15MPH Speed Limit

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois

Ridiculous 15MPH Speed Limit

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
January 11, 2008

McHenry County College 15MPH Speed Limit

When does a low speed limit make sense, and when does it guarantee that no one will pay any attention to it?

Next time you are at MCC, notice the 15MPH speed limit sign on campus roads. Perhaps you have already noticed it. What did you do when you saw it? Drive 15MPH. Yeah, sure...

When I inquired why the speed limit was set at 15MPH, the answer given to me was that drivers always go 10MPH over the speed limit so, by posting it at 15MPH, they hoped drivers would hold it down to 25MPH.

Now, that's really good thinking for an educational institution. Let's teach our students to ignore the law. I'm sure they didn't set out with that thought in mind, but that's exactly what happens.

The road will easily handle 25-30MPH, so why not set the speed limit at a reasonable level and then enforce it?

There are many ways to enforce speed limits on private roads. One is to ask the Crystal Lake Police Department to run radar on the campus roads. That ought to create a really good relationship between students and Administration.

Another is to arm Campus Security with radar guns and let them police the speed limit. Campus security officers are not cops, so they cannot stop traffic violations, but there is always a work-around. For example, MCC could issue parking permits (stickers) to students who drive to school. Then, if the student accumulates reported traffic infractions, MCC could just yank the permit and sticker.

Actually, stickers might not be such a bad idea. If a driver left his lights on or the campus security officer found a car with a flat tire, the driver could be alerted. Or what if a student's car is accidentally damaged in the parking lot?

Vehicle registration could include email addresses and cell phone numbers. Security could IM, email, text or call the student to inform him or her of a problem with the vehicle.

But back to the speed limit. When speed limits are set arbitrarily low, then they are more likely to be ignored. This doesn't just happen on campus roads; it happens on city streets and highways.

How do you get a speed limit changed? Those who are affected, interested or concerned should speak out. The first stop might be Campus Security office. Don't just say it to the officer in the office. Put it in writing. Ask what consideration will be given to your request, by whom and by when you can receive a response to your request. Make a note of the date and follow up, if necesssary.

Will MCC listen? Only time will tell.

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