The Day - Roadside sign has safety message that hits home

By Amy Renczkowski

Publication: The Day  Published 08/30/2010 12:00 AM

East Lyme woman bought one after it made her slow down

East Lyme - A small sign on the side of the road in Glastonbury grabbed Jessie Ford's attention one day when she was driving.

The rectangular-shaped sign stated: "Drive like your kids live here." Although she said she wasn't driving fast, Ford put her foot on the brake.

Ford, 29, purchased the same sign from a Connecticut company located online in an effort to slow drivers down in her neighborhood on Pepperidge Lane off busy Upper Pattagansett Road.

"I hope that other people will see it and order their own," Ford said. "The minute I saw it I slowed down."

Upper Pattagansett Road is a twisting road close to the Flanders section of East Lyme. Located on it is a Girl Scout camp and several new housing complexes. Pedestrians and bicyclists frequent the road, where the speed limit is 25 mph.

Ford said she has lived on Pepperidge Lane for four years and there are problems with drivers speeding in the area. There are also visibility issues with cars turning on Upper Pattagansett Road from her road.

"People go down that road so fast. I'm always honking to them to slow down," Ford said.

Ford and her husband, Jared, recently became parents. Their baby, Lyla, is 4 months old.

"I never really thought about it (speeding) before. But I've seen people driving, and there's no way I'm going to bring her stroller on the road," Ford said. "I'm very protective."

Ford placed the sign at the top of the street, on the property of Pam and Ron Rothgeb, who welcome the sign and its message. Ron said he takes their 13-year-old golden retriever for a walk in the early morning to avoid the speeding cars.

"The traffic out there and the speeds that they go is terrible. The traffic is too fast for these conditions," Pam Rothgeb said. "We've been fortunate not to have any accidents."

East Lyme Resident State Trooper Sgt. Wilfred Blanchette said police officers conduct enforcement for speeding, but concentrate their efforts on the busier roads around East Lyme. He said signs like the one Ford bought often work to get people's attention.

"If it one person slows down, then it works," Blanchette said. "We encourage all drivers to drive like their own child depends on it."

Drive Like Your Kids Live Here LLC is a Wethersfield company that says its mission is to provide a safer environment for children. The company hopes the signs slow down aggressive and distracted drivers and prevent injuries and deaths resulting from motor vehicle accidents.

The 16-inch-wide by 24-inch-tall "Drive like your kids live here" yard sign sells for $9.99 and can be purchased online at www.drivelikeyourkidslivehere.com.

According to the company's website, an average of five children are killed involving motor vehicle accidents each day making this the leading cause of death for children age 14 and younger in the United States. Equally shocking, about 65 child pedestrians are injured by motor vehicles each day, the site says.


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