MOUNT CARMEL — In their first 10 days of operation Mount Carmel’s speed enforcement cameras caught an average of slightly more than 23 violations per day, although not all of those would have resulted in a speeding ticket.
Two Redflex speed enforcement cameras — one on each side of town on Highway 11-W — went online April 1. They will be issuing warning citations until May 1.
As of April 10, the cameras had caught 232 speeders. However, when Mount Carmel police reviewed the citation photos they only approved 153 of those to be mailed out as warning citations.
Mount Carmel Police Chief Jeff Jackson said a variety of “flaws” — mainly technical glitches — resulted in the other 79 potential violations being rejected.
“Some of the violations showed the speed, had perfect pictures of the plate, the information on the vehicle matched, but when you went to the video it was not there,” Jackson said. “Since the information was not totally complete, those were rejected. In some cases the license plate information wasn’t clear, so they rejected those.
“In a few cases, right after the cameras went online, the cameras weren’t focused, so before that was corrected the photos were blurry and couldn’t be used.”
Also, in a few cases at night the photo was taken but the flash didn’t go off and the license plate information couldn’t be seen.
Those citations were also rejected, but Jackson said that as technical glitches were discovered they were addressed. He said the department would always err on the side of the motorist in cases of technical glitches, although he anticipates the bugs being worked out of the system before the citations become real on May 1.
There was also an occasion when officers noticed the flashes going off by themselves at night with no vehicles passing by, which was cause for concern. Jackson later learned that happens when Redflex conducts regular remote inspections of the cameras.
The reason for the 30-day grace period before citations go into effect was to give the public ample time to get used to the cameras and amend their driving habits if needed. Jackson noted that the 30 days were also needed to work out the bugs that come with any new system like this.
Mount Carmel police officers will inspect all potential photo citations before they are issued in hopes of weeding out any that are questionable.
Jackson said the cameras have already had a marked effect on behavior on 11-W in Mount Carmel and he’s noticed that traffic is slowing down.
Some motorists might take a little longer than others to get used to the cameras, he added, noting that there were a few motorists who were caught speeding twice in the first 10-day period.
“With the publicity we’ve put out there, the public is aware of the camera system and from the first day when we uncovered the signs and they went online there was a visible reduction in average speed,” Jackson said. “The traffic system has made that two-mile stretch of 11-W in Mount Carmel safer already.”