Crack Down on Speeding, Texting Behind the Wheel in Community

June 23, 2017
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Rules passed by a homeowners association are for the good of the community, and safety rules are especially geared towards protecting members. In a planned community that’s laid out in a neighborhood fashion, a major risk of accidents is traffic—specifically, speeding or careless driving that’s even more common thanks to some drivers feeling that it’s okay to use smartphones while they’re behind the wheel.

News stories of driving accidents abound, and a surprising number take place in planned communities, even though there’s a perception that association-managed communities have more civility and respect for safety because of governing documents that put forth rules to accomplish that. But like a growing number of associations, you can minimize dangerous driving in your community by understanding which roads are under your control and mitigating traffic risks by installing speed bumps.

Traffic calming devices come in all shapes and sizes. The most recognized are speed humps and speed bumps, raised mounds of pavement placed across roadways that compel drivers to slow down. Installation of these speed bumps in the streets forces drivers to slow down or experience an unpleasant jolt and possibly minor car damage.

Bumps are steeper, while humps have a gradual rise. Speed tables are flat-topped speed humps. Speed humps have been shown in many studies to greatly reduce speeds and traffic accidents.

One criticism of these traffic calming devices is that they slow emergency vehicles down. But you can work around this by using rubber speed cushions. These cushions are designed as a series of small speed humps installed across the roadway. Cars must drive by with one or both wheels on the rubber products, while the wider berth of emergency vehicles allows them to straddle the cushions, thereby driving over them without slowing down.

Another potential source of liability with these traffic calming devices occurs when a driver damages his car by going too fast over speed bumps. To help reduce the probability of liability, it is important to place bumps at distances recommended by professionals. You should also place warning signs at entrances to the community and warn members in writing of the installation of the speed bumps in advance.

The association should additionally be aware that some municipalities enact ordinances prohibiting the placement of speed bumps or other similar speed control devices on private streets. Therefore, before installing any speed bumps in your community, review local ordinances to ensure there are no prohibitions against such speed control devices.

For three more ways to ensure safe driving, see “Implement Four Methods to Keep Roads Safe in Your Community,” available to subscribers here