- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Tickets will be issued beginning March 12
By KATIE FITZPATRICK
Staff writerA camera to track speeders was recently set up in Chesapeake Beach as a warning, and tickets will be issued starting in March.
In April, the Chesapeake Beach town council entered into a contract with Optotraffic, a Maryland-based company that provides photo enforcement solutions for red-light and speeding violations, to provide speed camera services within the town’s school zone.
The speed camera, located on Route 261 in front of Beach Elementary School, was set up and began issuing warnings Feb. 10 to anyone traveling 12 mph or faster than the posted speed limit of 30 mph.
On March 12, $40 citations will be issued to anyone going 12 mph faster than the posted speed limit in the school zone.
“Optotraffic will catch you at 42 [mph] or over,” said Jim Parent, Chesapeake Beach town administrator.
Michael Shisler, principal of Beach Elementary, said he thinks the people who realize what the camera is and that it is there are slowing down. He said the school is glad to have the camera there.
“People are slowing down,” Shisler said. “We’re glad to have it because it’s a challenging intersection when you come up the hill from the north end of town or south from town, so now people are realizing the camera is there and are slowing down.”
Optotraffic placed a 4-foot-wide portable trailer on Route 261 in front of Beach Elementary. The speed camera will be effective from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday in the school zone, Parent said, and will be effective year-round.
Thirty-nine percent of the collected revenues from the speed enforcement cameras will go to Optotraffic and the town will keep 61 percent, which council member Patrick Mahoney said during a Feb. 16 meeting can only be used for public safety within the town.
At previous meetings, several council members voiced their opinions about the cameras being beneficial for the safety of the students. A recent study in four Maryland municipalities showed a significant reduction in vehicle speed and accidents when speed cameras were set up near schools, according to the Optotraffic website.
Parent said the “usual pattern” with speed cameras is when they are first implemented, a lot of tickets are sent out within the first month. As people become more aware of the cameras, he said, the number of tickets issued decreases. He said he already sees cars slowing down as people are noticing the camera.
The camera system calculates vehicle speed, records vehicle images automatically and notifies the town via email. Company personnel review photos of possible violations and determine vehicle ownership before forwarding the information to law enforcement for approval, according to Optotraffic’s website. Once approved, the company mails citations to offenders, the website states.
The speed camera system performs a daily electronic self-test of all critical components and calibrates against a GPS satellite. Reports of the calibration are saved on the machine. The speed camera machines also have to be calibrated by an independent laboratory once a year, for which Optotraffic is responsible.