Director of Engineering Gary Graham
McKinney Courier Gazette, August 13, 2017
School Days Are Here
School will soon be back in session bringing along scheduled school zone speed limits, active crosswalks and busy drop-off lanes. When drivers don’t pay attention on familiar streets and ignore speed limits, the consequences can be steep. Our neighborhoods are full of pedestrians, people walking their dogs, children playing and passengers exiting cars parked along the street, all of whom are trusting drivers to obey the rules of the road and be aware.
It's Easy for Speed to Slowly Increase
It feels natural to speed up a bit when we are traveling on familiar roads and know where our destination is located. Anyone will agree that the less time we spend in traffic the happier we all are. But familiarity can also breed complacency when it comes to our attentiveness and safety. It’s natural to start to tune out some of the key indicators of safety and have vehicles parked along the roadway and children playing go unnoticed.
Construction congestion and delays may prompt us take a shortcut through a neighborhood and accelerate when we are free from the traffic, but that’s when we need to remind ourselves that this is a neighborhood, these are our neighbors, and we need to drive safely not only for our own families but for the community as well.
Statewide Texting While Driving Ban Goes into Effect September 1
The same familiarity also provides a dangerous false sense of confidence in our ability to use a cell phone while driving, including checking social media or emails, texting or watching videos. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) estimates that about one in every five traffic accidents reported in Texas is caused by distracted driving, and in 2016, 455 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.
House Bill 62 (HB 62), a statewide texting while driving ban, takes effect on Sept. 1 and prohibits drivers from reading, writing or sending an electronic message on a device unless the vehicle is stopped. A similar ban has been in effect for all school zones in McKinney for years, but HB 62 will apply the ban to all roadways. The bill is intended to send a clear message that drivers need to stop the distractions and keep their eyes focused on the road.