Nearly half of the motorists entering or leaving the city limits of Memphis on Highway 15 north were found to be out of compliance with the speed limit according to data compiled by the Northeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission’s traffic trailer.
The speed monitoring device was placed in the 40 mph speed zone north of the highway 15 entrance for the Scotland County R-I School District. The trailer was located on the west shoulder of the highway from March 18 through April 15th at the request of the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.
During that time frame, 51,200 vehicles were speed checked either entering or leaving the city limits, with just 58.96% being in compliance with the posted speed limit of 40 mph.
The majority of vehicles entering the city limits were in compliance with the speed limit. The trailer speed checked 25,242 vehicles southbound into Memphis and 18,721 were at or below the speed limit. While that constitutes 74.17% percent of the inbound traffic, it still meant that 6,521 vehicles were exceeding the speed limit as they approached the main traffic area for access to the school.
Of that number, the vast majority were traveling no more than 10 miles over the limit. A total of 131 southbound vehicles were checked at speeds in excess of 50 mph.
The most alarming statistic found in the data was the top speed monitored by the trailer, 114 mph. That was on a northbound vehicle.
Not surprisingly, the northbound traffic was less compliant with the speed zone. Unlike southbound traffic that was reducing from 55 mph to 40 mph and ultimately to 30 mph further into the city limits, the northbound traffic flows from the 40 mph zone to highway speed of 55 mph.
A large number of northbound motorists apparently were jumping the gun on the acceleration, with only 44.18% of the monitored traffic at or below the speed limit. Of the 25,958 vehicles checked, 14,490 were traveling at speeds exceeding the posted speed limit. A total of 1,861 vehicles or 7.17% of the total, were traveling 50 mph or faster.
Somewhere in that count was the one motorist that was clocked at 114 mph. In all, 143 vehicles were monitored traveling more than 86 mph with another 103 traveling between 81 to 85 mph.
These high rates of speed were not limited to northbound traffic, as the system monitored one southbound vehicle at 106 mph as it entered city limits.
One might expect those types of high rates of speed to have occurred late at night, but some of the most alarming data provided by the study, revealed that the highest volume of traffic that was caught at speeds in excess of 86 mph occurred between and 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. with the next highest frequencies from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., typically the two highest traffic times as motorists commute to and from work.
The system does not differentiate between standard traffic and emergency vehicles, meaning some of the speed situations could have been law enforcement, fire department or ambulance vehicles responding to emergencies.
The data has been shared with local law enforcement agencies who indicated enforcement efforts are ongoing in the area.