April 17: A letter was recently published in the Baltimore Sun that was pro Automated Speed Enforcement. Sadly, it was generated by a fatality, but it sums up quite elegantly what we believe at Optotraffic. To read this article, click here.
March 20: Optotraffic is the major U.S. based automated speed enforcement company, but we keep an eye out for happenings in other countries. Recently, the national police force in Ireland released a nation-wide study of the effectiveness of its speed camera program. Specifically they tracked the occurrence of crashes in “high-risk zones.” Thirty percent of crashes resulted in fatalities in these zones before speed cameras were deployed. After deployment, that percentage fell to 17. The police estimate that this drop resulted in 26 lives being saved.
December 18: We were pleased– but not particularly surprised–that a federal trail court repudiated arguments brought by plaintiffs that automated speed enforcement citations did not meet legal requirements. Optotraffic is an active provider of ASE services in the State.
November 7: Well that’s settled! In late October two Maryland District Court judges issued decisions confirming that the Optotraffic equipment in school zones provided accurate information about speeders. A defendant attempted to get more than 30 speeding tickets dismissed arguing against the accuracy of our speed cameras. It would have been cheaper for him to just pay the fines in the first place.
Maryland District Court Judge Lawrence V. Hill, Jr. issued his decision in the case of Town of Forest Heights vs. Eastover Auto Supply. The judge found Eastover guilty on all 18 speeding citations brought before the court. Previously, Maryland District Court Judge Gerard Devlin, also found Eastover Auto Supply guilty on the 15 speeding citations before his court.
Eastover argued that the Optotraffic cameras were inaccurate. Optotraffic is deploying portable automated safety equipment in Prince George’s County Maryland school zones. In testimony before the courts, it was explained that the police test and confirm the accuracy of the Optotraffic units on site, using police vehicles, in a two-way test: calibrated speedometer readings as well as independent RADAR. All three—the
Optotraffic unit, the speedometer and RADAR—must register within plus-minus one mile per hour of each other. All Optotraffic units passed this test. In addition, the Optotraffic units go through daily calibrations using satellite technology and a series of internal tests of the units. If any element is not performing properly, the equipment shuts down until repaired.
October 25: The Traffic Group, Inc. is a well-regarded research firm in Baltimore. It did a “before” and “after” study of four jurisdictions in Maryland that deployed Optotraffic equipment to see if there was a change in driver behavior after the Optotraffic units were in place. There certainly was! All four locations showed significant improvement. The longer the speed cameras were in place, the more drivers obeyed the speed limit.
The City of Seat Pleasant showed the most dramatic improvement. Optotraffic deployed its equipment near Seat Pleasant Elementary School. Before deployment only 7.6 percent of the drivers obeyed the 30 mile per hour speed limit on Eastbound Maryland Route 704. By the end of the study that number had risen to 75.6 percent—an 895 percent increase. More significantly, crashes in the school zone fell dramatically. In fiscal 2010 there were 25 property damage crashes and 20 crashes involving personal injury in the school zone. After installation of the cameras, there were only two property damage crashes and one personal injury accident.
Signs notifying drivers of the speed cameras were prominently posted in the school zones and the Optotraffic speed camera equipment was clearly visible. Nonetheless, driver behavior appears to adapt over time rather than immediately. According to The Traffic Group in its Riverdale Park report, “Generally, the number of violations decreased steadily each month of operations.”