Akron’s Fine For Speeding

It looks like Akron, Ohio has put in automated speed enforcement equipment. Hey, this stuff works like crazy!

Here’s part of what Akron and the vendor said as the program began:

William B. Danzell, Chairman of Nestor traffic systems, stated, “We are excited to partner with the City of Akron on such an important safety initiative. We believe that the unique ability of PoliscanSpeed to capture violations on limited sight roads makes it the most effective system for Akron’s automated enforcement program. This technology, coupled with our turnkey processing services will allow the City to provide consistent enforcement without burdening City resources.”

Strongly supporting Akron’s implementation of the Automated Mobile Speed Enforcement System, Mayor Donald Plusquellic quoted, “Nestor’s PoliscanSpeed System is another tool that we can use to let our community know that speed limits will be enforced and that we are serious about ensuring safety in our neighborhoods.”

And here’s the proof in the numbers from the Akron Beacon Journal:

Here’s a look at the first 19 days of work, all weekdays, for the automated speeding ticket machines:

Total drivers fined: 2,676

Amount of fines: $451,500

Amount vendor to receive ($19 each): $50,844

Remainder to city: $400,656

The worst offender was going 29 mph over the limit (54 in a 25 mph zone).

Forty percent of those fined $150 were going 10 mph or less over the posted limit.

More than half of the violations were in 25 mph zones, with the average violator going 37 mph.

The Copley Road area near Erie Island Elementary School yielded the most fines, followed by the 400 block of Darrow Road near Betty Jane Elementary School.

In many cases, the cameras wrote more than a ticket a minute. On Nov. 7 at Copley Road, a camera ticketed five people at 3:16 p.m., then caught seven more at 3:51 p.m.

It’s no secret, if you scrupulously enforce traffic laws, you will find violators. There’s one highway I take home from work every night where I’ve exceeded the speed limit by a factor or two or more! I’m sure I’m above the limit more than I’m below it. Who isn’t?

Maybe I’m going too fast, by a little. Definitely, the posted limits are too low by a lot.

I’ve never quite understood how speed limits are derived, but they’ve never made sense. As I exit a two lane divided highway with broad shoulders, its speed limit is lower than the city street with no shoulders I’m entering.

Is speed enforcement a matter of safety or income? I would hope it’s the former. It’s extremely tempting to make it the latter. Look at the incentive for Akron. Look at the incentive for the vendor.

Of course a speeding ticket (or any moving violation) has secondary implications. Your insurance company knows and you’re likely to see them extract an additional premium on your policy.

If we’re going to have this more stringent enforcement policy, isn’t it time to revisit the speed limits themselves? If they are too low or unrealistic, do they become a form of entrapment – enticing me to break the law?

5 thoughts on “Akron’s Fine For Speeding”

  1. A highway engineer once told me that the speed limits on ramps, etc., are designed for safety for the worst handling vehicles. A hot BMW can take a curve, but a Dodge Colt can’t at a given speed.

    As for the tickets, I don’t like the whole regime. When you’re pulled over, all of the power and leverage is in the hands of the state- and you are pretty much hamstrung. If you fight a ticket, you have to give up your valuable time to do so. The result is unjust. Let’s say the officer that times you from his unmarked car behind you can only use his speedometer to do that. When was the last time his car and speedometer were accurately calibrated? You can’t challenge him on the spot, you have to go to court to do that.

    More people are falsely convicted of traffic offenses than any other offense, due to sheer volume, pressure derived from revenue and soft quotas, etc.

  2. Years ago, I received a speeding ticket for 40 mph in a 25 zone. Keep in mind, I was going downhill….My sister said her neighbor got pulled over in the same spot going 50! but SHE was given a warning, where as I was ticketed and fined…The LAW is the LAW…everyone should get the same treatment…why is one person ticketed while another just warned??

  3. Geoff,

    I cant wait to see how many challenged tickets the City of Akron sees going through the courts. This technology is great, but many people feel that it is somewhat entrapping as you don’t see a police officer on the site. On another tangent, it may not be good because with a traffic violation, an officer is given the “discretionary right” to decide how each case is handled. The machine is very strict, selecting everybody.

    Usually with these machines though, as well as most car-mounted radar and laser units: the unit has a setting on it that allows only people doing more than say 5 MPH over the speed limit to be detected, or for the unit to act, so you have a buffer zone to speed.

    Can’t wait until this technology is in use here. I can smell the class-action suits piling up…

  4. I know a few years ago Connecticut had the lowest average speed limits in the nation. 40 or 45 is very common and quite low for a lot of roads. 55 is equally ridiculous on a 4-lane. I agree with SW above in that everyone should be treated the same. If 95% of cars are going over the speed limit, then they should ALL be fined. Maybe then the state would look at the absurdity of the posted numbers.

  5. The problem, especially here in Connecticut, is consistency. People drive over the limit because they feel they can get away with it — as well as the sense that “nobody else” is obeying the limit as well.

    If 95 were (outside of downtown Bridgeport and downtown New Haven) using a limit of 65 or 70 — and enforced it — people would be driving the same speed as they now travel, but would have more respect for an honest, fairly applied limit, and not just a device to raise funds (as our Ohio neighbords seem to apply it) to balance a civic budget.

    People don’t drive 60 on the Parkway or 70 or 95 to reckless or intimidating. We do it because (in dry clear weather) we feel safe and confident at that speed. That should become the speed limit. Cars moving more slowly should keep to the right. Clowns who feel like driving 80 should be ticketed.

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