Data shows improvement in speeding on campus

Sign showing the posted speed limit for the Utica University campus.

Mickale Thompson

Sign showing the posted speed limit for the Utica University campus.

Mickale Thompson, Features Editor

Utica University with the aid of the Utica Police Department recently released the campus drive speed data results for 2022. The university was able to compile and track speeding data using speed trailers provided by the police department which were positioned on campus drive, in the vicinity of the Strebel Student Center, documenting northbound and southbound vehicular traffic due to the fact that the area has high pedestrian traffic.

In the email sent out by Campus Safety, the purpose of documenting speed is to create a heightened awareness for all Utica University community members. The data compiled will help Campus Safety direct resources strategically in order to maintain a safe environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

The data revealed that from Oct. 24, 2022, to Oct. 28, 2022, the average vehicle speed was approximately 20 mph northbound, 5 mph over the posted speed limit of 15 mph and 18 mph southbound 3 mph over the speed limit. The highest recorded vehicle speed was said to be 38 mph (Northbound) and 44 mph (Southbound).

Director of Campus Safety Musco Millner is tasked with developing, implementing and managing safety and security services on campus and says the reason for tracking campus speed data is to help drivers be more conscious of their habits and behaviors, while at the same time encouraging them to embrace the importance of obeying traffic laws.

“The speed trailer will be utilized in the future to serve as a means to check the progress of our efforts in educating the university community regarding the awareness of and importance of safe vehicle operation,” Millner said. “Our efforts will remain proactive when it comes to upholding the regulations of the university.  We will continue to monitor vehicular and pedestrian traffic via various platforms in order to identify and address safety concerns that come to light.”

The 2022 speed results show significant improvement from 2020 in which during that time the average vehicle speed was approximately 20 mph, 5 mph over the posted speed limit of 15 mph with the highest recorded vehicle speed was 70 mph (105 feet per second), 55 mph over the speed limit. During that time the speed trailers were posted in the vicinity of Strebel Student Center between Alumni and Bell Halls. Also in 2020, the Speed data indicates that an excess speed of 15 mph occurs between the hours of 11a.m. and 3 p.m. when the campus experiences high pedestrian traffic.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in the first quarter of 2022 motor vehicle fatalities are up by 7% with 9,560 deaths as a result of motor vehicle crashes in the United States compared to the first quarter in 2021 which saw 8,935 fatalities.

The campus community urged to remember that high vehicular speed increases the risk of collision as a result of limited vision, traction and maneuverability are reduced, while inertia is increased, along with the distance required to stop the vehicle.

According to Millner, increased speeds increase the probability of not only a collision but a collision resulting in personal injury and/or fatality.

“Remember safety first, trading off a few moments of inconvenience for a lifetime of safety will bless every one of us, students, faculty, and staff,” Millner said. “With that being said, the traffic control regulations are designed so that we can all be safe and alive today and tomorrow.”

The appropriate speed limit when driving on campus for all drivers is 15 mph. Emma Lorenzoni, a first year political science major, said that keeping track of speeding should be a priority on campus and campus safety should monitor speeding carefully in order to distribute tickets.

“I believe speeding is a cause of concern on campus because of the amount of people that walk around, by going a certain speed it is harder to stop to see other students walking. Especially at night considering the campus is not that well lit in my opinion,” Lorenzoni said. “I don’t think campus safety adequately monitors speeding to distribute tickets fairly because there are still a lot of people on campus who speed and I don’t believe campus safety patrols enough to see how actively people are speeding.”

The cost for speeding tickets on campus is predetermined and can range from $50 for the first offenses and $75 for the second offenses. With the financial strain that college students experience some believe that the ticket costs are too high.

“I don’t think that is a reasonable price to pay depending on the speed you were going,” Lorenzoni said. “If it was just a couple over the cost shouldn’t be that high but if you were going a decent amount over the speed limit then I could see why it would be that high.”

For other students, the speed data result isn’t a real attention getter.

“I don’t think it’s that important, especially for students,” senior business management major Emily Dygert said. “A lot of students see the data and ignore it. It may help campus safety see if they need to monitor drivers more but I don’t think it needs to be compared year to year.”

The proactiveness for campus safety to actively motor speeding on campus regularly on a day to day basis is a concern for students as some believe they are more worried about other things.

“I feel like most of the time I just see them sitting in their cars and not really paying attention to the drivers,” Dygert said. “They’re more worried about driving around checking to make sure people are parked in the right parking lot.

The need for drivers to be aware of their surroundings and drive safety is important. Driving at the posted speed limit will not only promote safety on campus but decrease the changes of motor vehicle accidents in the community.

“I think most people are typically cautious when driving on campus, especially when it’s really busy,” Dygert said. “It’s really important for drivers to be aware of their surroundings and monitor their speed so nobody gets injured. It is also important for pedestrians to be aware when approaching the roads.”