JEROME, Idaho — When seniors at Jerome High School conducted a study about speeding, they found it was a big issue in the nearby residential areas. They also noticed having posted speed limit signs made drivers significantly reduce their speeds, so they raised funds to get new signs posted.
"I sat here a couple of days ago and looked at speed and vehicles passing by, and it seems to help a lot," says project leader and Jerome Police Officer Guillermo Garcia. "You get vehicles that are speeding over the 25 mph zone speed limit, and as soon as they see that alert they need to drop to 20, they do. They drop to 20 and below. So it catches their attention. It's serving its purpose in other words."
The signs were posted in front of Jerome High School, Jefferson Elementary School, and Horizon Elementary after the study found speeding was an issue in front of all three schools. The students conducted the study by measuring speeds using a speed gun.
"We placed a speed trailer, the one that alerts you to the speed of the approaching vehicles. We determined that vehicles at that point were slowing down way below the speed limit. Once they were alerted, they were slowing down. While we were doing that, we also noticed that vehicles weren't slowing down for pedestrians. They didn't seem to notice them," Officer Garcia said.
To help alert drivers to pedestrians sooner, the students had crossing signs with lights installed in the area.
Jefferson Elementary Principal Angie Brulotte says that installing the crosswalks has been a big help since students arrive before sunrise during the winter months.
"We always had a cone on the crosswalk with a little light on it, but it was never quite enough until you got right there so these are incredibly bright and give everybody an alert three blocks down the road that we have kids crossing," Brulotte said.
The seniors were able to purchase the signs through donations from the city and county of Jerome, the Jerome Chamber of Commerce, and the Jerome School District. Some of the donors tell us they felt this project was essential for them to contribute to.
"Any life we save, any broken limb, any trauma we can avoid, it's worth it," John Crozier, Jerome County Commissioner, said.