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?