Easton's police chief wants speed cameras in school zones for children, not revenue, he said at Monday's town council meeting. “We have not had a single child die as a result of a vehicle accident directly in front of any of our schools and we are hoping we can reduce that number,” said the chief.
The police chief spoke at a public hearing during which five concerned citizens voiced their concerns, “I'm concerned about big brother,” said one citizen. “When I strategically placed cameras in my workplace bathroom, I was fired and arrested. Now the town of Easton is putting cameras wherever they darn well please. Seems like a double standard.” Easton's police chief confirmed that placing cameras in workplace bathrooms will still be considered illegal.
Speed cameras have been the hot button topic in the area in recent months as Trappe recently withdrew from their contract with RedSpeed USA, an Illinois based company with an office in Annapolis. This is the same company Easton is considering.
RedSpeed did a traffic survey in Trappe during one week in December 2010 that showed 1,500 vehicles drove south on Main Street near Homerun Baker Park each day. About 1,200 of those sped, with eight people driving between 70 and 74 mph. Another 40 people drove between 60 and 65 mph, with 85 percent of drivers going at least 47 mph.
No child could survive an impact with a car going that fast, Jim Colanero, a representative of RedSpeed, reported. Although Colanero admitted that they were unable to get a child to jump in front of the cars to confirm his suspicion. He also admitted that if cars were going 25 mph kids should probably still not walk out in front of the cars and get plunked.
Trappe unexpectedly decided to end their contract with RedSpeed after Trappe's council president received a speed camera ticket in a 15 mph school zone in Cambridge. He appealed the ticket and said the court experience was a real eye opener, “They had practically no evidence other than the date, the time, the speed I was traveling, a picture of my car and a picture of my license plate. The idea of other people getting tickets was sweet, but when I realized I could get one, well that's when it hit me that we better not do this.”
Easton pointed to Cambridge's success as a reason to use the cameras. Cambridge installed several cameras in school zones and then placed their speed limit at 15 mph. The town nabbed more than 1,000 cars in the first month, in addition to 18 bicyclists and two joggers.
The Cambridge police chief reports he couldn't be happier with the results. “Our safety numbers are outstanding now, we went from zero fatalities in school zones in 2010 to zero in 2011. With this success, we will be lowering the speed limit to 6 mph and eventually we are hoping to lower it to -12 mph.” The cameras would issue tickets to anyone exceeding the speed limit by 12 mph or more.
Easton's police chief insisted that this is clearly a safety issue, although he admitted that the camera would only issue tickets for drivers exceeding the speed limit by 12 mph or more, but would not issue tickets for the following offenses: drunk driving, driving with no hands, putting on makeup while driving, allowing the pet dog to drive, driving with your four year old on your lap while letting them steer, driving backwards, car surfing, talking on your cell phone, texting on your cell phone, driving on the sidewalk, or whistling while driving. To get a full list of offenses you will still be able to commit, contact the Easton Police Department.
Easton's police chief also admitted that if people follow the speed limit and few tickets are issued by the speed cameras, the cost of the devices would virtually bankrupt the town.
**DISCLAIMER: The blog is intended for mature audiences and can't be held liable for corrupting young minds. It is also not factual and was created for entertainment purposes, not actual news coverage.