Smile, speeders: Police unveil traffic cameras
March 12, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — March 12, 10:54 a.m.
Drivers should watch their speed on Second Avenue Southeast when the Issaquah Police Department begins using cameras to monitor traffic in bustling school zones. Officers will activate the system Monday and issue warnings for drivers caught exceeding the 20 mph limit. Starting April 13, violators will receive $124 fines.
“Our main goal is to give people lots of heads-up that this is coming,” Patrol Commander Scott Behrbaum said.
Cameras were installed across from Clark Elementary School near the intersection of Second Avenue Southeast and Southeast Evans Street. Issaquah High School, Tiger Mountain Community High School and Issaquah Middle School are also located in the vicinity of the cameras.
The system consists of two cameras – one to record video of the violation and another to snap a photo. Sensors in the roadway detect a speeding vehicle and activate the cameras. Cameras will record images of the rear of the speeding vehicle’s license plate. The devices will record on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will not be used on weekends or during school holidays.
Workers are also installing signs along the roadway to alert drivers to the cameras.
Drivers caught speeding will receive photos of their vehicle during the infraction, as well as a shot of the license plate. The mailing will also note the time, date, speed limit and the recorded speed of the vehicle. Violators caught after April 13 will also receive a $124 fine.
The infraction is a non-criminal offense that, like a parking ticket, is not part of the violator’s driving record. Violators may pay the fine, request a hearing or submit a “declaration of non-responsibility.” If the vehicle owner was not driving the vehicle at the time of the incident, the declaration of non-responsibility leaves the driver on the hook for the violation.
Behrbaum said the goal is to improve safety near the schools. No plans exist to expand the program, he said.
“Each year we write hundreds of tickets for school zone speed violations,” Behrbaum said.
The City Council approved the camera measure last July.
“Our top goal is to increase safety – for both pedestrians and drivers – in an area heavily populated by students,” Police Chief Paul Ayers said in a news release. “These cameras will help us reduce speeding near four local schools without draining our community’s enforcement resources.”