Montgomery County speed camera program to get a fresh approach -- Gazette.Net


Montgomery County police hope to stop speeding drivers with a new approach to speed camera enforcement designed to follow unsafe driving trends.

Ten camera units will be added to the existing 10 portable cameras and six van-mounted units, according to Capt. Thomas Didone, director of the department’s Traffic Division. Eighteen county roads will be added to the 74 already covered in the program, which began in 2007, Didone said.

Police aren’t just relying on increased cameras and locations, Didone said; Mobile camera units will be periodically relocated in an effort to keep drivers on their toes, or, better yet, their brakes.

“People slow down for the cameras and then speed back up again, so by expanding the scope of the enforcement areas, we’re hoping to gain compliance from drivers all along that corridor of the roadway,” Didone said. “By moving the camera to multiple locations, [drivers] won’t know where the camera is so they’ll have to respect the roadway and go slowly along that entire stretch.”

While the speed program’s 56 fixed-pole cameras will remain in place, police will no longer announce the exact locations of mobile cameras, or what roads they will be on at any given time, Didone said.

“So we saturate a location for a period in time until we start getting compliance for the speed limit, then we can relocate the cameras to the next problem roadway,” he said.

Aside from detering speeders, the new approach may have another side effect; an increase in citations and county revenue.

Despite annual increases in cameras, money generated by speed camera citations has declined every year since fiscal 2009, when the program peaked at 505,368 citations and a net revenue of just more than $12 million, according to county police data. In fiscal 2010, net revenue fell to $9 million from 361,234 citations. Fiscal 2011 reported the lowest numbers: 329,711 citations for a net revenue of about $8.1 million, according to the data.

Didone said the additional cameras and new approach do not have anything to do with boosting program revenue. County speed cameras are set to photograph license plates of cars traveling at least 10 mph above the posted speed limit, he noted.

“We have been consistent in putting these [cameras] in locations to change speeding behavior, which is the goal,” he said. “We’re talking about respecting the speed limit, everybody who gets a ticket is being ticketed for going over 10 miles over the posted speed limit. … No one is entitled to exceed the speed limit by over 10 miles an hour.”

Within two weeks the additional cameras will be installed on several of the newly-designated roadways to begin flashing at drivers exceeding the speed limit. The cameras will begin ticketing drivers a week after they are installed, Didone said.