Speed kills, but how do we kill speed?

By Acting Mayor Patrick M. Keefe

Recent incidents have focused intense attention on traffic safety and regulating the speed of motor vehicles that travel the streets of our city.

Unfortunately, the speed of vehicular traffic has become an increasing public danger.  Drivers casually exceed speed limits and—worse–do so while distracted by cell phones, interior dashboard monitors, or excessively loud music…

And while motor vehicle technology has produced an evolution in vehicle safety, we confront an unintended consequence of a false-but-growing reliance on a vehicle’s automated controls such as lane-departure warnings, speed governance, and, with some models, self-operation.   A recent article in the American Bar Association on-line magazine noted that numerous experts say that as technology continues to eliminate driving tasks, drivers inevitably look for more distractions.  Technologically-advanced vehicles have contributed to the rise in inattentive driving.

It is natural for the public to turn to the government for help.  Cries for greater enforcement of existing regulations, the re-design of roadways, installation of new signs and traffic controls dominate public and political discourse.  As with any issue, the government’s response must consider a multitude of factors and can be implemented only in prioritized phases dictated by resources and reality.

It is easy to talk about safety measures.  It is entirely different to implement them.  With approximately 84 miles of city-owned roadway, the task is substantial, but it is a task we are addressing with aggressive efforts by our Police, Public Works, and Community Development Departments as part of a Responsible Roadways in Revere initiative.

• Speed humps were constructed on Fenno Street and Sargent Street and a speed table was constructed at Cushman Avenue.

• Additional speed bumps are planned for construction before the end of 2023 on roadways of high concern due to their location near schools or because they attract extraordinary traffic due to their proximity to other major roadways.

• Revere Police have recently acquired advanced radar technology installed in cruisers that can monitor the speed of moving traffic.  Unlike traditional “speed traps” where an officer is stationary while checking vehicle speed, the technology will allow speed monitoring from a moving police cruiser, wherever it is.

• Police have applied for funding to obtain electronic license scanners which will facilitate the process of citing drivers for traffic violations.

• Police will erect additional electronic speed monitoring signs as a traffic-calming measure in neighborhoods.

• Police will implement increased patrols on main thoroughfares and high-risk areas such as Squire Road, Bennington Street, and North Shore Road.

• Improved signage, supplemented with LED lights, to draw drivers’ attention.

• All departments will continue to explore adjustments and feasible alterations to existing roadways and intersections.

I appreciate the comments and advocacy of our residents who rightfully demand government’s attention to the problem.   I am hopeful that the City Council will look favorably on funding the staffing, construction, and equipment necessary to implement remedies over a long period, since attacking this problem will require a lot of resources for years to come.

At a much more basic level, I plead with everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car to realize that you are operating a machine that when operated carelessly can kill or harm your neighbors, your family, and yourself.

Look at your speedometer and slow down.  That, we know for sure, is the most certain way to make our streets safer for everyone.

Patrick Keefe Jr. is the Acting Mayor for the City of Revere.

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