The speed limit increase on Highway 84 East is a cause for concern, extra safety

Published 8:35 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Any drivers traveling on Hwy. 84 east of Bainbridge are likely to notice new speed limits that were posted in June of this year. Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) raised speed limits in many areas between the cities of Bainbridge and Thomasville from 55 mph to 65 mph.

This change occurred due to studies done by DOT regarding vehicles’ average speeds and accident history on Hwy. 84 in recent years. It is uncertain whether DOT was aware of the effect raising the speed limits would have on drivers making their way into Bainbridge High School (BHS), which resides on the highway.

Increasing the speed limit on Highway 84 also results in an increase of the school zone speed limits in front of BHS. The school zone limits that were once 45 M.P.H. now read 55 M.P.H. This change raises concerns faculty of the high school and parents of the students have regarding student drivers’ safety when traveling back and forth from school.

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Bainbridge High School Resource Officer Eric Duke claims “55 is just too fast for a school zone”. It is also questioned why DOT did not inform any faculty at BHS of the upcoming change. Administrators and officers had no knowledge of the increase in speed limits prior to the beginning of the new school year. The faculty is searching for a common ground with DOT as the school year progresses.

Resource officers held a meeting at BHS with Georgia Department of Transportation on Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The subject of conversation focused on possible answers to faculty’s concerns of student safety. BHS staff questioned the possibility of lengthening turning lanes at the entrances of the school and increasing the school zone distance, which would allow more time to decelerate before needing to turn off of the highway. Resource officers also asked whether the school zone speed limits could be dropped to their original 45 M.P.H. Georgia DOT left the meeting in consideration of the options and will announce their decision at a later time.

Bainbridge High School administrators would like to warn student drivers, parents and staff to drive with caution when traveling on Highway 84. The safety of students and staff is the first priority at BHS. Stay alert and stay safe.