July 24, 2008 By Corey McKenna
Following up on the success of their intersection camera program to curtail red-light runners, the city of Renton, Wash., will begin using cameras to enforce the speed limit in school zones around the city. American Traffic Solutions Inc. (ATS) installed the first sites at McKnight Middle School. Camera systems are being installed at Talbot Hill Elementary School and Renton High School, as well. All cameras will have a 30-day warning period with citations beginning this fall.
Both Seattle, for school zones, and the Washington State Department of Transportation, for constructions zones, are adding ATS mobile units for speed photo-enforcement. Renton is the first to use a permanent, fixed-site system, ATS said in a press release. The speed enforcement camera system is similar in look to red-light camera systems used elsewhere in Renton and around the country.
Washington allows the use of cameras for speed enforcement in school and construction zones with the goal of protecting students walking to school and roadway construction workers.
According to the July 2, 2008 edition of the Renton Reporter, Renton Mayor Denis Law said, "One of our top priorities is to prevent needless pedestrian accidents and injuries, and speed cameras are an important tool in reining in reckless drivers. Speeding near neighborhood schools is a very serious problem and I urge everyone to slow down. Speed cameras are a great tool to support safe streets."
The camera system is tied into the "children are present" flashers at the school sites. When the warning flashers are on, the program will digitally photograph and record video of every vehicle exceeding the speed limit by more than six miles per hour. The Renton Police Department then reviews the photographic evidence and approves the issuance of a citation to violators. Drivers violating the speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour will receive triple fines.
The Axsis SC-300F Fixed-Site Speed Camera system uses the same core technology and hardware as the company's red light enforcement system. This means that the hardware is interchangeable and easily maintained by the same technicians. The SC-300F units can be mounted on existing infrastructure without impacting high levels of accuracy and performance.
The standard configuration captures two images per violation. The first image is captured when the speeding vehicle's front axle is positioned at the designated violation photo point. The second image is captured at the secondary photo point, which confirms the positioning of the vehicle based on its measured speed. Each violation also includes a 10 second video clip, which allows the police or charging officer to perform a comparative visual tracking history of the violation speed and surrounding circumstances. The system can also be installed with a second camera to capture driver facial images.