Speeders beware, cameras are coming

Comments 0 | Recommend 0
March 5, 2009 - 6:47 PM
Greg Sowinski
Published March 6, 2009
LIMA - Attention all speeders: Consider this your warning.
Later this month, the city will begin using an automated speed-enforcement system to target speeders, primarily around schools and any areas that generate high complaints.
"Our concern here is the safety of kids while coming to and from school," said Major Tony Swygart, of the Lima Police Department. "My best advice is anytime you see a posted school zone you drive 20 mph during the restricted hours."
The first month of the program, warnings will be sent instead of citations. After that, it will cost a speeder $85 each time, which is a civil penalty and not criminal, Swygart said.
Nestor Traffic Systems is providing the equipment for the project at no cost and will receive a percentage from each ticket. The company will run the program 40 hours a week, working out of a van at locations chosen by the Police Department, Swygart said.
Police officials will instruct the company to offer a buffer of a few miles per hour. The speed limit, with the buffer, is entered into a computer. A photograph and speed record is taken of any vehicle over the limit, said Bill Schleter, an official with Nestor.
Lima City Schools spokesman Kevin Reeks said the initiative will help make school zones safer.
"We all just need to be more aware and pay attention to the law for the safety of our students," he said. "We all probably drive over the speed limit and we need to slow down."
Reeks said he cannot recall a time in the last eight years a Lima City Schools pupil was hit by a car.
Police plan to use the system during the summer around places where children frequent such as parks and in areas of high complaints, Swygart said.
Lima Law Director Tony Geiger said camera traffic enforcement has been determined by the Ohio Supreme Court to be valid even if run by a private company.
"Our belief is it will act as a deterrent," Geiger said. "People tend to be more careful if they know a camera might capture their violation."
The fines are civil in nature and there is no provision in the law for an escalation of the $85 citation for anyone caught speeding more than once. It will not go on a person's driving record or reported to their insurance company, Swygart said.
There is no chance for a person to loses his or her license but if a person does not pay, a civil judgment could be obtained or the fine could be placed with a collection agency and onto the violator's credit bureau file, Swygart said.
People can appeal the citation with the case heard by a hearing officer hired by the city, likely to be a private attorney.