Speed cameras may be moving to U.S. Route 422


By Joe Gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The police department is considering using its speed cameras on U.S. Route 422 because of an influx of traffic there.

Police Chief Robin Lees on Tuesday said because of construction on Interstate 80 in Girard and several detours, the road is seeing up to 10,000 extra vehicles a day, according to data collected by speed monitors that occasionally are placed on the road.

The increased traffic also has led to increased speeding, with some recorded speeds eclipsing 70 miles per hour, Lees said.

The department will have officers from the traffic unit and other details patrolling the road with radar in an effort to crack down on the speeding beginning immediately, Lees said. Lees said if that does not reduce the speeding, the cameras will be on the road beginning Monday.

Since the city acquired the cameras in 2015, they have been used only on Interstate 680 and in school zones.

The cameras actually are radar guns that will take a picture of a vehicle’s license plate if the vehicle is speeding. Violators will receive a civil citation no later than two weeks after they are recorded.

The information will be downloaded and sent to Optotraffic of Lanham, Md., which will handle sending out the notices. Under the agreement with Optotraffic, the city gets 65 percent generated by the cameras. Penalties are $100 for those driving up to 13 mph over the speed limit, $125 for 14 to 19 mph over the limit, and $150 for those driving at least 20 mph over the limit.

Lees said he will use the cameras if regular enforcement does not work because they are proven to work in the city. He said speeding and accidents have been cut down on I-680 since the city began using the cameras there last year.

“We know they work,” Lees said. “We know they are effective in curbing speed and reducing accidents.”

Lees said there have not been any major accidents nor tie-ups yet, but he does not want to take that chance.

“We’re not going to wait for a tragedy,” he said.

The department also expected increased traffic on Route 422 because of the construction, but Lees added it has exceeded expectations.

“We didn’t know it would be to this extent,” Lees said.

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