Dumb and Dangerous Driving - April 19, 2007

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High speeds make it hard to stop, and that's a big problem on roads with lots of houses, curves, and school bus stops.

Neighbors say it's happening on Old Petersburg Road.

Just because the road name changes from River Watch to Old Petersburg doesn't mean the traffic slows down. That's why neighbors say spending time outside in their own front yards can be scary.

Shattered glass, broken plastic, and even a tire remain, all pieces of the latest wreck in front of Dawn Howard's house.

For her, they're also reminders of the constant problems plaguing her neighborhood.

"There's just people zooming by all the time!" she said.

Dawn takes her 13-year-old to school so she won't have to cross the busy street to catch the bus.

Her neighbor Gerri Johnson says that is how the family who used to live here lost their son.

"I've seen so many, many accidents here," Gerri said. She says she sees at least one every few months.

Traffic flies through the neighborhood at speeds in the 50s, 60s, and even 70s.

"The higher the speed, the less deceleration time you have, which is a factor in a lot of crashes," said Lt. Andrew Shedd with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Lt. Shedd says stopping time is especially important in places like this, with narrow roads, lots of driveways, and lots of kids. That's why the sign says drivers should be going 35.

Gerri says most never do.

"When I come home every day and I'm trying to turn into the driveway, I'm paranoid a speeder will come over the hill and plow into the back of me," she said.

It's a sound neighbors say they hear all the time.

"I hear the bang and I peek out and call 911 to see if they're okay," Dawn said.

She's worried her family could be next. That's why she says something needs to change to slow this down.

That part of Old Petersburg is supposed to be widened to four lanes with a median starting in 2010. The Traffic Department in Columbia County says that could mean more stoplights, which could help control the problem.

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