Letter to the Editor: Speed kills!

Stock image | Photo by Carlos_bcn/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

OPINION — More years ago than I want to admit, when I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, I remember being really impressed by a message spelled out in great big letters on one of those giant Foster & Kleiser outdoor billboards.

The sign was atop a building on the northwest corner of world famous Hollywood and Vine. A few years later I would be working just up Vine Street from there at the Capitol Records Tower, but that’s a story for another day.

At the time there was an entrepreneur and innovator known as “Madman” Muntz, some say a consumer electronics genius for his pioneering work with car stereo systems. Muntz was getting a reputation for turning heads with his unorthodox ad campaigns.

This was when TV was not all that common in American households and Muntz was promoting sales for his line of low-priced television sets. His sign read simply, “STOP STARING AT YOUR RADIO!” Alongside was a cartoon rendering of Muntz in his signature Napoleon outfit.

Later on, during my own advertising career, I would refer to this as one of my personal top ten one-line favorites.

So, what has this to do with driver safety? Well, I also remember that about the same time there was another memorable billboard popping up around town. Spelled out in great big letters on these were just two words: “SPEED KILLS!” The city had located these signs at strategic places around town in an effort to get drivers to think about the dangers of driving too fast.

Excessive speed was the number one cause of traffic deaths then, as it is today. Speed not only determines the extent of damage and injury in a crash but – more importantly – whether or not we survive.

In a report published a few years ago, the State Patrol in my state made a stunning announcement. They revealed that most of their traffic stops for speeding on a certain 300-mile stretch of the interstate were drivers traveling at speeds from 90 to 110 miles per hour. This is incredible! Any racing pro will tell you that those speeds belong on a track, and that anyone driving at those speeds on a public roadway is either clueless about the consequences or suicidal.

Speeding is an even greater problem in towns and cities where driving is more complex, the dangers are manifold and more people are usually involved.

I have no problem with Joe “Dirt Track” Fuzzbrain, the NASCAR wannabe – and now all too often Ms. Fuzzbrain – driving at warp speed into a wall and making him-or-herself unrecognizable. Just don’t take others with you, which is too often the case.

I’ve never been able to get a handle on why so many otherwise intelligent and law-abiding people get behind the wheel and are suddenly transformed into lawless, wild-eyed zombies, hell-bent on getting there yesterday whether they need to or not, when ample studies have shown that faster is not sooner, especially in towns and cities where the risks multiply exponentially.

I suppose this is somehow a reflection of our social condition which seems to be immediate gratification regardless of the cost. If you’re one of these people, my advice to you is simple: If you want to get there sooner … leave sooner! Slow down and enjoy the ride.

Next time you’re driving in town do this little study on your own. Decide you will drive at the posted speed limit to wherever you’re going for a period of let’s say – I’ll make it easy – 15 minutes. I’lI give you 30 seconds max before you cave in, become a follower and start breaking the law. Good driving is not easy.

If you’re able to stay at the speed limit, notice how other drivers come up behind you, tailgate dangerously, then pass you and speed ahead. Then note how many of those same drivers are waiting for you at the next stoplight. My teen students are always delighted by this. “Wow!” they exclaim, “I never noticed that before!”

By driving too fast in town all you do is waste your gas, wear out your brakes and – on our streets – beat the hell out of your car! Oh, you might gain a minute or two but you have to ask yourself, “Is getting there a little sooner worth putting myself and others at risk of death or injury?” SPEED KILLS!

This is not about how to drive. This is about staying alive! See you next time … I hope! And stop staring at your radio!

Submitted by BOB SEARS, St. George, Utah.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.

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  • Real Life December 14, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Get out of the hammer lane if you wanna go slow.

  • Shorm December 14, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    I’m a speeder. 10mph over the speed limit was my regular speed of choice. About 10 months ago I decided to stop it. I drive the speed limit now, everywhere I go. Guess what! It doesn’t take me any longer to get anywhere. The author is spot on about meeting up with people at the next stop light who rushed passed you a little earlier. This happens to me all the time and I just laugh.

    • Mike P December 15, 2018 at 11:25 am

      If you drive 10 MPH over the limit on a highway to a destination 500 miles or so away I don’t believe you would meet up with the people who were going the posted speed limit because you would get there approx. 50 minutes before them. Maybe even more because the slower driver probably had to stop for a bathroom break or two.
      Reminds me of the old grade school math question: ” if Billy leaves his house at 8am and travels 40 miles per hour, and his brother, Bob, also leaves the house at 8am and travels at 60 miles per hour, blah, blah, blah. you get the point. The theory only works in city traffic.

  • AnnieMated December 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Hi Bob,

    Great article. I completely agree with everything you said.
    A few years ago the U.K. Ministry of Transport released a series of traffic safety advertisements aimed at the general public that were -to my understanding at least- very effective. Here’s one:

  • Kilroywashere December 14, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Maybe if you added S P E E. to the big “D” on the hill above Bluff and put KILLLS after it, you might make a dent. Many letters & articles have been written in different Washington County media platforms over recent years and NOTHING CHANGES. Add to the equation, 30-40% of drivers are clearly driving distracted under Utah law in this town as well at any given time. Nice try though.

  • Comment December 14, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    It’s like Momma used to say: drive like hell and let God sort them out! You see me commin’ up behind ya, ya best git out the way! Can’t keep, Bob, I reckon it may be bout time to call it quits and check on in to that nursin’ home. hahaha.



  • Mike P December 15, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Speed itself doesn’t kill unless you crash. Unsafe drivers kill many more than speeders

  • Carpe Diem December 18, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Not sure the author drives the 15 between Vegas and Victorville very often. If you go the speed limit, you would be a serious road hazard. Use common sense.

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