Parents are hopeful that a new state law to raise the fine for speeding in school zones will keep children safer.
The law, which went into effect Aug. 25, increased the minimum fine for drivers caught speeding in designated school zones during school operating hours to $250 — ten times the previous fine of $25.
“When I first read about the law, I was shocked to learn that $25 was the previous fine,” said Jane Kerwin-Frederick, chairwoman of Health and Safety for the McDougle Middle School PTA.
Kerwin-Frederick, who has a child in seventh grade at McDougle Middle School, said speeding in a school zone poses a particularly dangerous threat to children.
“It’s an area where there is a large concentration of children two times a day,” she said.
“The kids are not always concentrating on the traffic — they’re thinking about where they’re going, what they’re doing with their friends, what’s going on at school.”
The measure to increase the fine was advocated by the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force, which was created in 1991 by the N.C. General Assembly.
Elizabeth Hudgins, executive director of the task force, said concern for children’s safety drove their action.
“Increasing speed just a little bit has been shown to increase injuries greatly,” she said. “Children are especially vulnerable because of their smaller body mass.”