Future Headline: Motorist Kills Half Dozen Fifth Graders While Trying To Read Speed Limit Sign

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Here’s the story.

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31 Responses to “Future Headline: Motorist Kills Half Dozen Fifth Graders While Trying To Read Speed Limit Sign”

  1. #1 |  john222 | 

    I’ve often thought the same thing. There are some in my area that have different times for Wednesday’s.

  2. #2 |  Nick | 

    I went to the story, and their was an image credit… but to be honest, the sign looks photoshopped to me. What is suspicious is that the portion of the sign that lists the specific times is a much brighter shade of white than the rest. Also, the gap between that white sign and the sign below it (where it says School Days Only) looks like a gray blotch, where the gap above it (where it lists the speed limit) actually looks like you can see the post that holds the sign.

  3. #3 |  andyinsdca | 

    The image credit goes to the TV news station that is running this report, so it’s doubtful it’s a shop.

  4. #4 |  Highway | 

    It’s not photoshopped, unless you think Google Maps is in on it:


    It’s perfectly ordinary for a sign assembly to be put together at different times, so the specific times panel is probably much newer than the other panels.

  5. #5 |  FridayNext | 

    The sign might be real, but it looks they have photoshopped it close to the school. Aside from the problems mentioned above, it looks like the sign would be in the middle of the street or, at best, on the left side of the road. Or the road has a REALLY sharp turn in it.

  6. #6 |  Me2 | 

    Nice how there’s no blinking amber light indicating when the reduced speed limit is in effect. Cha-ching! – That is, ‘for the children’.

  7. #7 |  CyniCAl | 

    It would be simpler to drive 25mph at all times there.

    Effin duh.

  8. #8 |  (B)oscoH | 

    Reading the sign probably is a workable distraction while driving. Setting your clock to the second, probably not.

  9. #9 |  Highway | 

    FridayNext, no, the picture for the sign is taken with a good lens and a flat depth of field from the side of the road. There’s a LONG distance between the Speed Limit sign, the Adopt-a-Road sign, and the Middle School sign, but you can project that if you were looking straight on to the Speed Limit sign how it can end up between those other two signs, with the High School (?) building faaaar in the background, and the curvature of the road in between.

  10. #10 |  Jeff | 


    That sign is in a different location and doesn’t have the same number of panels. Here is the place where the sign in the pic supposedly is. There is no sign.


  11. #11 |  Harley | 

    The two cities I drive in most of the time have them marked 8:00 – 4:30 (or 5:00) on school days when children are present. Now, other cities in my state enforce them 24/7, so it varies.

  12. #12 |  andyinsdca | 

    A friend in Michigan has confirmed that this sign is for real; she’s driven past it.

  13. #13 |  StrangeOne | 

    I think the reason so many people are questioning the signs authenticity is that the times are a newer sign, and the others are older and have been weathered.

    If its that complicated there needs to be a blinking light and a control box. But that would require some $$$, and would make writing speeding tickets much harder.

  14. #14 |  Larry | 

    Me2: One TV news story I viewed said that installing a flashing light would cost $50,000. If true, that would be the most outrageous part of this silly story and yet another sign of our decline.

    Around 5 years ago a small neighborhood park in Goleta, Calif. was renovated. Our local congressperson was there for the grand re-opening and to take credit for allocating a massive $250,000 for the new equipment and landscaping.

    I wonder why the media always fails to inquire just how a flashing light could cost as much as a luxury car and how a simple park renovation could cost as much as constructing a McMansion. (Not to mention just what the federal interest is in constructing small neighborhood parks.)

  15. #15 |  Highway | 

    $50,000 for installing a flashing light there is entirely reasonable:

    – New electric service from a nearby pole, probably at least $10,000 in a single job.
    – New sign assembly including foundation because you don’t mount lights on U-Channel – $10,000
    -Traffic control for construction – $5000

    And the rest would be tied up in design, contracting, and overhead.

    Getting the government to do things is expensive.

  16. #16 |  John Spragge | 

    What CyniCAl said: a school zone should have a speed limit of 25 mph, period.

  17. #17 |  Highway | 

    John Spragge, there’s a big difference between what CyniCAl said and what you said. Additionally, putting a highly restrictive speed limit at all times for no reason on a stretch of road like that will just keep people from obeying the speed limit. That’s great for cops that want to write tickets, but does nothing for anyone else – drivers, pedestrians, students, or school employees.

    The oddly specific sign is not particularly good, it should have morning and afternoon hours at most. But making that stretch of road 25 miles per hour all the time just helps to further erode respect for speed limits.

  18. #18 |  The Media | 

    @#13 Because Fuck You, that’s why.

  19. #19 |  JSL | 

    Bah thats nothing. Oregon 3-4 years ago made it a law that school zone speeds were in effect 24-7 and all year long. So, even in the summer with no school in session you had to go 25mph. The law lasted a year before being repealed.

  20. #20 |  Bob | 

    #15 : Highway

    $50,000 for installing a flashing light there is entirely reasonable:

    – New electric service from a nearby pole, probably at least $10,000 in a single job.
    – New sign assembly including foundation because you don’t mount lights on U-Channel – $10,000
    -Traffic control for construction – $5000

    And the rest would be tied up in design, contracting, and overhead.

    Getting the government to do things is expensive.

    Hell, the signs alone probably cost over a grand per, with 4 of them on the pole. And of course, don’t forget the government worker that puts them up, and his pension for life. Yup, it’s real easy to spend other people’s money, especially when you get to curry favor while spending it!

  21. #21 |  red | 

    Most traffic signs just make it more likely that an accident will happen. If you have a dangerous traffic pattern, you need to change the road, not put up signs.

  22. #22 |  CyniCAl | 

    @#17 | Highway

    You are correct, I wasn’t advocating the speed limit, I was figuring out the winning strategy for dealing with that situation. In fact, it’s possible they are experimenting with different means of encouraging compliance with the 25mph limit, which I’m sure drivers blow off every minute of every day there.

    Disneyland has a 14mph speed limit posted in their parking lots. Park patrons always comment on that, “14mph. Hmm. Not 15mph, not 10mph, hell not even 11 or 12 or 13mph. But 14mph. Hmmm. That’s so WEIRD!”

    So, by posting a number that’s not divisible by 5, you have just started conversations among bored people on a tram who are going to drive in that lot later. It’s in their heads … 14mph … 14mph … 14mph.

    Is compliance greater that way? Why else do it?

    So too it might be with such a confusing sign in Detroit. What time is it? Huh? 9:42??? Can I drive faster than 25mph now? Should I risk it? Ahh, f@(& it. I’ll just drive 23mph and be done with it. Mission accomplished.

    A good way to make sure someone you are meeting is on time is to tell them to be there at 8:57 instead of 9:00.

    Plus, I do think it is common sense to drive slower past schools. I think it would be hard to find someone to admit in public to the contrary. Kind of goes without saying, really.

  23. #23 |  John C. Randolph | 

    In my neighborhood when I was a kid, the school speed limit signs had yellow lights, and they all said “Limit 25 when flashing”.


  24. #24 |  George Waring | 

    But the sign says Middle School, fifth grades do not go to Middle School

  25. #25 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Fucking schools.

  26. #26 |  el coronado | 

    I think it was Solzhenitsyn who once wrote – it was either him or a trashy spy novel featuring hot big-knockered Rooski honey trap babes – (give me a break. it was 30 years or so ago) who wrote the words that describe today o so well.

    Something along the lines of, “The KGB never had to look for a legal excuse to detain any citizen of the USSR. A pedestrian couldn’t cross Gorky street in any way without breaking at least 10 rules or regulations – so any time they wanted a man, the legal justification to grab him was always ready and waiting.”

    That school zone sign is a perfect metaphor for a country with 50,000 laws (?)(nobody really knows the actual number) and maybe a million federal & state regulations – all enacted by the permanent bureaucracy; none ever voted on by a legislature. And then of course, there’s the tax code…

    Yeah, this’ll end well.

  27. #27 |  el coronado | 

    Wait…that bullshit school sign is in DETROIT?!? Oh. Well. Mystery solved: it’s a revenue-generating device, pure and simple. Just look at the motto of the Detroit Public school District: “Fuck the kids – just give us the money!”

  28. #28 |  Ted S. | 

    “Limit 25 when flashing”.

    Now the government has a use for all those people on the sex offender registry. :-)

  29. #29 |  tom | 

    @27: No, it’s in White Lake Township, a semi-rural area about 50 miles northwest of Detroit.

  30. #30 |  primus | 

    I am unaware of any kids getting picked off in school zones in my city in the past 50 years or so. Because the cars are going so slowly the little yardapes walk right out in front of you, totally aware of your presence and sneering at you as you brake hard to avoid them. We should do away with reduced speed limits in school zones. The approach should be a quadrupling of fines for speeding in those zones. The kids would be less arrogant and they would learn to move more quickly, and traffic would move better. BTW why is it that they so often put schools on main roads, which inconveniences the maximum number of drivers? Schools should be built on side roads with little traffic.

  31. #31 |  A sure sign that confusion lies ahead « The Cotton Boll Conspiracy | 

    […] The Agitator, the blog that highlighted this inanity, led with this tongue-in-cheek quip, “Future Headline: Motorist Kills Half Dozen Fifth Graders While Trying to Read Speed Limit Sign”. […]