Speed van will move all over town
By Mike Gaffney/ email@example.com
Thursday, October 26, 2006
The new mobile speed vans, originally intended for school neighborhoods, will now be placed throughout the town to help police officers enforce the speeding limits.
The Board of Selectmen Tuesday night voted 3-2 to lift the restriction that a mobile speed van must be placed in school zones. This action allows the vans to be stationed wherever police officers feel is most appropriate.
Police Chief James MacKay and Lt. Stephen Sweezey appeared before the board to ask for more discretion as to where the mobile speed vans can go. The town is negotiating a contract with Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. to bring in a mobile speed van that is expected to augment the department's ability to enforce traffic laws.
The mobile speed van features a radar system coupled with high-resolution cameras to identify speeding drivers. Each digital image captured by the cameras shows a date, time, location description and speed the vehicle was traveling.
Motorists found guilty of a speed violation receive a ticket in the mail, which they have the right to appeal.
At a recent meeting the board voted 4-1 to amend the traffic rules to place a mobile speed van in school zones only. But this week MacKay and Sweezey successfully lobbied the board to allow officers to set up the unit where they best see fit.
"The van allows us to do more traffic enforcement and make the streets safer for the community," MacKay said.
After driving around town, Selectman Michael Kelleher said he realized the school zones are much smaller than he originally thought. He believes the majority of speeders are motorists who use major secondary roads as they cross through town, pointing out a mobile van in those areas could deter these people from breaking the law.
MacKay mentioned Essex Street, Main Street, Lincoln Avenue and Ballard Street as locations where the rotating speed van could end up. By lifting the school zone restriction, Sweezey added that violators won't know where to find the speed units.
Selectmen Michael Serino and Janette Fasano cast the dissenting votes. Serino preferred to wait until a contract is finalized with Redflex before going any further, while Fasano said she considers the mobile speed van a one-year pilot program and wants to see how it works before expanding it.