Northern Virginia

Lawmakers Urge Drivers to Watch Speed After Deadly Crash Killed 2 Virginia Students

Fairfax County officials voted to increase fines by $200 for drivers breaking the speed limit around Oakton High School in Northern Virginia

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As a new school year draws near, lawmakers are pleading with drivers to slow down, and some jurisdictions are going as far as putting up new signage and enforcement to make sure the roads are more safe.

Just a few months ago, two Oakton High School students were killed because of a violent car crash in Fairfax County, Virginia.

The corner of Blake Lane and Five Oaks Road near the school offers a reminder of how the last school year ended. Back in June, police say a teenager was driving 81 miles an hour when he hit another car and then slammed into a group of high school students on the sidewalk.

The residents have not forgotten.

"Oh yeah, it’s so sad, so sad. Like seeing their family coming here – I can’t imagine myself being in there," said resident Tahed Arateri.

Now, with a new school year in sight, some are calling for more speed enforcement tools – not just around Oakton High, but all over the county.

Fairfax County Supervisor Dalia Palchik, who represents the community where this deadly crash happened, is specifically calling for more electronic signs that display how fast drivers are going.

"Those were very well received. They are very effective," Palchik said. "The data has shown that they are only most effective when they are moved around, so they are not the static ones that you might see around."

Along Blake Lane where the crash happened, the flowers and makeshift memorials are still in place, months after the crash. The impact is still visible of where the car pushed in a fence.

After that crash, there were “know your speed” signs that were put in here along the road, but they’ve since been removed, and some say they’d like to see them come back

The county did just vote to increase fines by $200 for drivers breaking the speed limit around Oakton High School. Palchik says more money also needs to be set aside for more signage.

Others say that safer roads also come down to drivers behaving responsibly.

"I think it’s getting better than it was before, but they were going too fast before," said driver Gary Debes.

As this school year begins, the community is trying everything to avoid tragic ending to a school day.

School is back in session in Fairfax County on Aug. 22.

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