KITTANNING -- Speed limit signs on most borough streets read 25 mph, but perhaps some drivers have dyslexia and see 52. Police Chief Ed Cassesse said he recently issued a citation to a driver for doing more than 50 mph in a posted 25 mph zone on Johnston Avenue.
"Speeding in the borough is always a problem," Cassesse said. "It seems to go in cycles. We conduct aggressive patrols and that curbs the problem for awhile, but once our attention is diverted to something else, speeding resumes. We have been citing speeding drivers, but now we are going to get more agressive."
He said the majority of speeding violations occur on Johnston Avenue and North Water Street and some on North McKean Street.
"All these streets have posted 25 mph signs," he said, "but we frequently cite drivers for doing between 35 and 45 mph and sometimes in excess of 50 mph. We use VASCAR to cite most speeders."
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Cassesse said VASCAR is a system where a vehicle is timed as it passes over a pre-measured course. Police are trained by the manufacturers regarding proper use of the equipment and how to accurately measure the speed of any vehicle. He added that the equipment is calibrated every 60 days.
He said that most speed violations occur on weekdays, usually in the morning or between mid to late afternoon.
"You have people going to or coming home from work at those times." he said, "You also have some youths driving to or from school. People in those two categories seem to be the most common offenders."
He said that speed violation fines start at $45 plus court costs. Going 10 mph over a posted 25 mph speed caries a basic $45 fine plus costs. For every mile an hour over the 10 over, offending drivers pay an extra $2 per mph.
Cassesse said his department, at the request of borough council, will "beef up" efforts to curb speeding in the borough. At Monday's council meeting council president Gerald Shuster said council members have received a number of phone calls regarding speeding drivers on borough streets. He said that police efforts are concentrated on curbing the borough's drug trafficking problem, but said speed violations are increasing and also need to be addressed.
"I guess neither problem will go away," Shuster said, "but our police will do what they can to curb both."
Tom Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (724) 543-1303 ext 220.