Cheif: Slow those vehicles down
Speeders hastening their way through Tonganoxie be advised: Now's a good time to slow down.
Chief of police Ken Carpenter said that during the past three weeks, the police department has sharpened its eye on traffic patrol.
"We're trying to slow traffic down," Carpenter said. "Especially on 24-40 highway."
Some drivers caught speeding on U.S. Highway 24-40 were traveling from 20 to 30 miles above the speed limit, a speed limit Car-penter would like reduced.
"I'd like to see them lower it," Carpenter said.
Carpenter wants the speed limit at 30 mph or 35 mph along the highway between Ridge Street, where B&J Applemart is, to the stoplight on Fourth Street.
And with new housing developments going in, Carpenter said, more adjustments would need to be made.
"With Stone Creek, they really need to lower the speed farther east," Carpenter said. "We've got the same problem at the south end of town with Eagle Valley."
As a result of the increased traffic enforcement, during April nine people were charged with driving while intoxicated. With the recent changeover in the chief of police position and the ensuing crackdown on traffic violators, Carpenter said he couldn't make an accurate comparison between April and other months.
But Brian Daily, police officer, said there is an increase in drunken driving offenses and he said it probably relates to the increase of traffic in general.
A driver's first and second DUI offenses are handled in municipal court and require a mandatory 48-hour stay at the Leavenworth County jail where the city pays $60 per prisoner per day.
A driver's third DUI is handled as a felony in district court.
Drivers who've had too much to drink is only part of the problem that local police have detected on the highway that cuts through Tonganoxie.
When asked if he'd noticed an increase in semitrailers traveling through the city during recent weeks, Daily's answer was short:
"Absolutely," he said.
"We've always had a fair amount of truck traffic, but it's been picking up with the construction slow-down along I-70."
Daily, who will be qualified to check trucks in November, after he attends a Kansas Highway Patrol class on commercial vehicle safety in Salina, said there is a shortage of officers in this area who are qualified to conduct truck inspections.
And according to Daily, the truckers know this, too.
"I stopped a truck the other day," Daily said. "He was over his time on log hours. He said if you're overweight or out of time, this is the route to take."
Daily said that recent increased patrol of truck traffic in Bonner Springs has shifted traffic from Kansas Highway 32 to this area, further increasing the number of trucks motoring through Tonganoxie.
"They're trying to seek the route of least resistance," Daily said.
John Haley, Bonner Springs chief of police, said his city recently altered its truck route.
The new route keeps truck traffic away from schools, residential areas and the business district.
Daily said he hadn't noticed a difference in the volume of trucks along K-32. He did note that for the past two years, the city of Bonner Springs has had a police officer enforcing weight limits on trucks.
Dailey stressed that truckers are likely as careful in their driving as drivers of non-commercial vehicles.
Because they are larger and louder, it may appear that they're speeding, even when they're not, he said.
"It's just like regular cars," Daily said. "There are some that are speeding and some that aren't."