Questions arise after implementation of speed limit in parking lot

Annika Yoder, Reporter

Throughout recent years, the implementation of new safety procedures in the parking lot has become common. In particular, there is now a 15 mph speed limit for students, staff and guardians to follow while driving on school grounds. The speed limit was posted by the administrators to help ensure safety in the parking lot.

The parking lot at the high school is often very congested with the number of cars trying to exit the parking lot all at the same time. Besides just the cars, students also have to be aware of the foot traffic of other students walking in the parking lot. According to Vice-Principal Blake Smith, the parking lot speeding limit was implemented more as a safety precaution than anything else.

We have a posted speed limit in the parking lot of 15 mph,” Smith said. “We encourage students and staff to go even slower because of the number of cars and pedestrian traffic.”

For the most part, it seems that students have not driven too recklessly since the speed limits were put in place. However, there have been some instances where students have been caught speeding, or driving irresponsibly in the parking lot. Oftentimes this can result in administration warning or in extreme cases confrontation by law enforcement.

“We have had a few students who drove recklessly through the parking lot, and administrators handled those situations,” Smith said. “When that happens, consequences can range from a warning to having their parking permit taken to parking off-campus for a determined amount of time, to revoking all parking privileges.“

Consequences can vary when it comes to poor driving in the parking lot. Since every situation is different, there are more severe consequences that have been set by the administrators that can be used if needed. The situation can also determine if the school’s SRO’s need to be involved or if the student should just meet with the administrators.

“Every situation is different,” Smith said. “Our SROs can’t technically write tickets for speeding in the parking lot because it’s on private property. But, they can write tickets for reckless driving. I am not aware of that happening yet this year, but the administration has handled instances of accidents in the parking lot related to driving too fast. In past years, we’ve had students drive on the grass to avoid leaving the correct way from the parking lot, as well as driving on sidewalks. Those were handled by principals.”

Safety in the parking lot is a concern of the administrators because they want to ensure that the students and teachers are driving safely. Since the goal of the speed limit in the parking lot is to help ensure the safety of other drivers, it is likely the speed limit will stay. If anything, the speed limits may lower in future years, depending on how well people are following them.

“The slower, and more controlled someone can drive in the parking lot, the safer it is for everyone. Safety is our number one concern,” Smith said. “Unless there are identified safety concerns that we feel would benefit from a lower speed limit, the speed limit will stay the same.”