Are school speed zone penalties enough deterrent?

In many states, mandated fees for speeding in school speed zones are among the highest for a moving violation – into the hundreds of dollars, often even if just slightly over the posted speed limit. The purpose is obvious – to create a powerful deterrent to stave off speeding in situations where students are particularly at risk.

In Minot, fees for this transgression are notably less. As MDN staff writer Kim Fundingsland wrote on Saturday, the fee can range from $40 – $56 for speeds ranging from 21 mph to 46 mph.

This begs the question: are these fees deterrent enough given the seriousness of the situation? Secondly, should Minot re-examine the fee level and adjust upward to create more of a deterrent.

School speed zones came into existence decades ago now, as palatable ways to punish those who put students in danger. Even those who dislike the idea of traffic infractions as revenue generators tended to acquiesce to the wisdom of these fees.

However, if the fees are not deterrent enough to address the problem, then it is time to review them. They might very well need to be adjusted upward. Speeding in a school zone should not be just another “price of doing business.”

Minot Daily News is generally reticent to support increases in taxes and fees. But, consider the following. Is it better to increase fees for speeding in a school zone or wait until something horrible happens to one of our children for government to suddenly recognize there is a better way. Is it worth it?

Already, motorists downtown near the county buildings must notice the danger of students crossing at crosswalks there. Getting to class has some danger attached to it already, particularly in bad weather.

Are we as a community willing to risk our most precious commodity? Or should we consider augmenting laws now to prevent a tragedy that would break hearts and crush a family.

At the very least, it should be worth a discussion.