Chief’s Corner: Take it slow when behind the wheel

David Stevenson, South Lake Tahoe Police Department Police Chief

We have moved into the hustle and bustle of a busy summer, road construction, and traffic issues. The City’s Police Department is tasked with the enforcement of traffic laws within the City limits.

This includes patrol officers conducting traffic enforcement, officers working extra overtime patrols utilizing grant funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety, and one traffic officer dedicated to traffic enforcement. Traditionally, the Police Department receives more reports from community members in the summer about speeding vehicles and requests for increased enforcement and other traffic calming measures. We work very closely with our Public Works Department to mitigate these issues. These requests require traffic warrant analysis to be conducted by the City’s traffic engineer and budget appropriation to purchase the infrastructure to implement the calming measures.

Recently, there was a lot of attention focused on Caltrans announcing that based on their most recent “speed survey” results they were going to increase the posted speed limit on U.S. Highway 50 from the city limits on the west end of the City to Blue Lake Ave. and along SR 89 north from the Y to the City limit. After a public hearing held by the City, Caltrans has announced they are not going to raise the speed limit and will work with the City to conduct a road safety audit.  

I believe not raising the limit is the right thing to do.  I think it’s a reminder that there needs to be a change at the state level on how speed limits are set on state highways allowing local jurisdictions to have control of setting the speed limits based on specific factors related to the unique conditions of their communities.

It’s also important that we all take a moment to reflect on our own driving habits.  So often we think it’s “the other person” driving terrible, but is it?  We all have moments, and sometimes those moments end up on our streets.  So, take an extra breath each time you get in your car.  Slow down, don’t drive distracted, and be nice.  My challenge to each of you is to “take it slow when behind the wheel”.

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