Speeding on Campus: Officer Clemente’s Viewpoint


Polina Barilo, Journalist

1. Is there a speeding issue on the school’s street?

Yes. In my humble opinion, they can’t do it, but I think there should be a closed campus for lunch. The reason I say that is because 40 minutes is not enough time to go out, get lunch and bring it back. My biggest fear is a car accident involving one of our students riding a bike, skateboarding, or going for a run, and people are trying to get out of the parking lot at such a high rate of speed that they might hit one of those passing people. If you had a closed campus, with like food trucks, students wouldn’t have the need to leave campus.

2. Have there been any major accidents near the school recently?

The most frequent ones happen right outside the Mar Vista street, where there’s that left turn lane, where you can turn left only after 7:30. There’s a lot of car accidents right there. There was one last week between an Amazon Prime delivery truck and another person, non-student related. I would say that maybe ninety percent of accidents at CDM happen at that turn.

3. When is the time when the speeding is at its worst?

During lunch 100%. Lunch at 11:15am, at 1:30pm, and at 3pm. So, basically every time there are students coming here. I think there’s too many cars in a small area getting out. The worst times quite frankly are on odd days, on Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30pm, when people are leaving. That’s the worst traffic and that’s why the vice principal, Jeff Perry, myself, and the three security guards are out in the pool parking lot at that time.

4. Do you measure the speed of passing cars often?

So, I don’t, because my job is for the security within campus. So I’m not out there watching speeding vehicles: motor officers are. They measure the speed of passing cars with radar. So, they aim their little lidar gun which measures how fast cars are going.

5. How do you decide which car to stop if several are speeding at the same time?

So if there’s a group of cars going, probably the one that’s driving the fastest or the one you can catch up to. You try to get the fastest car so then it’s easier when you get a court to articulate that, for example those cars were going like 80 miles an hour and this vehicle was two car lengths ahead, going 90 miles an hour, which our dash camera will show.

6. How much over the speed limit does someone have to be going before you consider pulling them over?

It depends, because like if on the highway the general rule of thumb is 65mph. Anything over 15 miles an hour they will stop you. But, if it’s on a normal street, let’s say like most of Newport is 45mph, and you go under ten miles above the speed limit, it’s no problem. However, if you go thirteen, fourteen, fifteen about the speed limit they will pull you over.

7. What is the leading factor of most car accidents?

I’d say distracted driving. People on their cell phones and speeding are the number one factor. Like almost every single accident is distracted driving or speeding. So, anytime your rear end somebody you are driving too fast or you’re following too closely. If you’re on the freeway and you get rear ended, it’s the person behind you’s fault, because you should leave a reasonable amount of distance between your vehicle and that of the person in front of you. And people are everywhere on their cell phones. If you want to see something funny, look around at other cars at the traffic light. Ninety percent of people are probably on their phone.