Speed Zapper: Stop Sign Problems

OMAHA The last day of school is behind us, but the dangers of stop signs are front and center on the mind of Keep Kid's Alive, Drive 25 founder Tom Everson.

"It really is surprising, but it really shows the extent of which we all need to practice stopping," said Everson.

Everson is referring to the recent study he did on 127th Street and Westwood Lane. Everson spent the last day of the Millard School District tracking drivers just down the road from Cody Elementary School.

Over the course of the morning, 252 cars drove by; only 80 people came to a complete stop at a 4-stop intersection. That's a 31-percent compliance rate.

"It shouldn't be this hard," said Everson.

Then again, it is that hard. Believe it or not, the 31-percent compliance rate near Cody Elementary is better than the national average. Studies show just 11-percent of people come to a complete stop at a stop sign.

A national Safe Kids Campaign traffic study found that an average of 200 deadly crashes are linked to people not properly stopping at stop signs each year. It's part of the reason Tom Everson started a specific campaign to promote safer driving habits.

"It's called 'Stop. Take 3 To See,'" said Everson.

The concept is as simple as it sounds. Everson believes that if we consistently come to a complete stop, look left, right and left again dozens of deadly wrecks can be avoided. Wrecks like the one that took the life of Tia Townsend.

Townsend, 11, was killed in Washington a few years back. Police determined that a car skipped a stop sign and struck Washington, killing her. Her Dad worked with Everson following the deadly wreck to promote safe driving in their community.

"You know, a lot of people think you're saving time," said Everson. "Certainly when you put yourself in a position of injuring or killing somebody, it's certainly not saving anybody's time and certainly not anybody's conscious."

WOWT 6 News sent the Speed Zapper crew to the same area where Everson did his study. While interviewing Everson the Speed Zapper crew caught a number of cars slowing down, but not stopping at the stop signs. One car actually sped through the intersection without ever touching the brakes.

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