June 17: Several months ago, Optotraffic and the town of Riverdale Park, Maryland were named in a lawsuit aimed at getting speeding citations dismissed. The judge has ruled: the lawsuit was thrown out of court.
June 7: It is not uncommon in the news to hear reports of the number of speed cameras deployed, the number of citations issued, or the number of dollars collected using automated traffic enforcement systems. Optotraffic certainly recognizes that these are valid bits of information, but we are more interested in longer term statistics. A County Councilman in Maryland recently noted that there has been an actual change in driver behavior since cameras were deployed — particularly around schools. Likewise, the Police Chief in Washington, DC noted that traffic fatalities declined by 76 percent after automated systems were installed. That’s the real news!
May 13: Like everyone else we appreciate compliments. In particular we like hearing from our law enforcement partners, such as this note we recently received from the Police Chief in New Miami, Ohio.
“We chose Optotraffic to help our modest police department enhance the safety of our Village. Yet, with their assistance and expertise, we not only have accomplished that goal but we have achieved an unanticipated culture of safety in our entire community. We simply could not have done that without them.”
May 7: Recently, the well-respected Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a public opinion survey about red-light and speed cameras in Washington, DC, which has aggressive enforcement and relatively high fines. Here’s the link to the study: http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr042513.html
Some highlights of the findings:
- 87% favor red-light camera enforcement and 76% support speed camera enforcement.
- Just over half support adding cameras at stop signs and 47% support adding cameras at crosswalks. The percentages are much higher, however, among individuals who generally walk rather than drive.
- 58% of the people surveyed had actually received citations generated by automated systems – primarily speed cameras. Of that number, 59% of people who received citations acknowledge that the citation was deserved.
Here at Optotraffic, we often talk about our partnership with law enforcement and we’re very proud of those relationships. But we also work with municipalities that have no police force. Following is a note we received from the town of Lucas, Ohio that says it better than we could.
“As a small town without a police force, Optotraffic fit our needs perfectly. We were facing a significant speeding problem, which was in turn creating a public safety hazard and putting our citizens at risk. As a result of Optotraffic’s camera systems, we were finally able to address the problem and enforce a safe speed limit in our community.
Optotraffic was able to customize their programs to fit our needs as a smaller town, and walked us through each step, making the process simple and straightforward. Since installing the cameras, we have seen a dramatic reduction in unsafe speeding. Local parents whose children walk to school were vocal supporters of the idea, and are very happy with the results.
The additional revenue from the citations has led us to consider funding and implementing our own police force, allowing us to further traffic safety measures as well as deter crime, thus making the town even safer for our residents.”
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.
February 12: The Village of Elmwood Place is a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. Village officials and police knew they had a serious speeding problem – particularly near the Village elementary school and through residential neighborhoods.
The Village contacted Optotraffic to explore our company’s portable speed camera solution. The results speak for themselves.
During the initial few days of speed camera enforcement, 39 percent of the cars passing the school were exceeding the speed limit despite the Village having posted signs that speed cameras were being used and following a two-week warning period. After three months, however, the situation improved dramatically. When last measured, only 8 percent of vehicles passing the school are speeding.
The results were just as dramatic in residential neighborhoods where some streets were used as shortcuts by Cincinnati commuters. In the first days of enforcement on a residential street, nearly 73 percent of vehicles were exceeding the speed limit – again despite warnings and signage. That rate is now down to just over 18 percent.
January 30: Optotraffic offers the most sophisticated technology in Automated Speed Enforcement, designed initially for the U.S. space program. But we do not rely solely on technology – no matter how advanced. In fact, before a traffic citation is issued four different individuals must review the violation in the Optotraffic process:
1. After a speed violation occurs, a photo is taken of the speeding car. At that point, an Optotraffic technician reviews the photo to make sure there is a clear photo of the license plate.
2. The photo is then sent to a second person who views the photo in more detail to make sure that there is in fact a violation and no extenuating circumstances. That reviewer then requests ownership information from the appropriate state department of motor vehicles.
3. When ownership information is returned, the photo is again reviewed by a third individual who double checks that there is a violation and the description of the vehicle from the DMV matches the vehicle in the photo.
4. Finally – and most importantly – a sworn police officer reviews the photo and ownership information yet again before he or she issues a citation.
November 19: We noticed that some websites and retailers are still selling filters for license plates that they claim obscure the license plate numbers from speed cameras. In most jurisdictions, they are illegal, but they also don’t work when photographed by Optotraffic equipment, which uses infrared cameras to read through the filters.
August 14: Reductions in deaths and injuries when speed cameras are deployed aren’t limited to the USA. In a report issued by the Scottish government, titled Key Scottish Safety Camera Statistics for 2011, serious injuries and fatalities in Scotland dropped by almost two thirds following the introduction of speed cameras. The number of fatalities and injuries were monitored across 166 sites before and after the introduction of speed cameras, with the number of incidents falling from 92 to 36 during the study period. Total injury numbers fell to 684 from a previous count of 1,400 during the study.