TRAFFIC CONTROL Girard smooths out traffic camera kinks
Officials are making sure the system works flawlessly before issuing any citations.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN Jr.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
GIRARD -- A traffic control device with radar and camera to catch speeders made its debut here last weekend, but city officials say it may be a little while longer before motorists see any actual citations issued from the device.
Jerry Lambert, safety-service director, said the device was not in use Sunday and Monday and will not be used today. The device, however, will be turned on again Wednesday through Saturday, he said.
When the device is put back in use Wednesday, Lambert said, speeding motorists will still receive a warning instead of an actual citation. He said officials are making sure the system works flawlessly before issuing any citations.
"Did I figure there would be bumps in the system? Yes. Did I want it working properly before anyone gets a citation in the mail? Yes. And if it means taking an extra week to make sure it's working well, then I am going to take the extra week," Lambert said.
Lambert said the system, in its first few days of operation, worked fine. The only problem, he said, was confusion over where those ticketed will send payments. He said payments will be sent to a bank where the city's portion and the portion for Traffipax of Columbia, Md., the company contracted to install and operate the device, will be divided and distributed.
Lambert said officials have now determined the correct address for payments.
Lambert said the camera was working Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week. The number of speeders picked up by the device on Saturday has not been determined, but four speeding cars were detected Thursday and 14 more were detected Friday.
Those drivers caught speeding by the device last weekend and this week again will receive warnings instead of actual citations, Lambert said. Citations will be issued starting Aug. 8, he said.
Lambert said there were no problems determining which passing car was actually speeding or too many cars passing at once and confusing the system. He said each speeding violation must be clear before a citation or warning is issued.
"If it's not a cut-and-dry violation, if our police department looks at [the picture] and there is the slightest inkling that there may be a problem because of a situation like two cars in the picture, no violation will be issued," he said.
In situations where a citation is issued and the motorist believes it may be unwarranted, Lambert said, a hearing officer will make the call. He said officials plan to soon hire a part-time hearing officer to handle disputed tickets.
The idea of special license plate covers and sprays that block license plate numbers from the camera also have been a topic of discussion in some parts of the community, but Lambert said those devices will not work. He said a variety of devices have been tested against the type of camera being used and they do not work.
The city will receive $60 of each $85 citation issued through use of the device.