Advanced Search

PWC may pilot photo enforcement of traffic laws in school and work zones

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors recently received the results of a study that gathered data from speed cameras placed at several locations across the county, including school and construction zones and signalized intersections.

Cameras placed at 16 school zones during five school days showed that 859,743 vehicles passed through the school zones, and 24.6% of those vehicles went through at more than 10 mph over the posted speed limit. The study also showed that 4% of the 465,365 vehicles that passed through three construction zones did so at more than 10 mph over the posted speed limit during a five-day workweek.

Cameras placed at eight signalized intersections, for 24 hours each, recorded 6,522 violations. Of those violations, 21.4%, or 1,397, were vehicles running red lights. Illegal right turns accounted for 4,660 violations and 471 were illegal left turns.

The board directed staff to conduct the study in March 2022, and data collection ran from May 2022 through July 2022.

The Virginia Code requires that governing bodies adopt ordinances before installing speed cameras. The code also requires a 30-day waiting period before cameras are installed at each new location. The code allows jurisdictions to decide the location of the cameras and to determine the fine structure.

The study showed that compliance with the law rises to 80% to 95% at locations where cameras are installed. The presence of traffic cameras is also shown to improve safety beyond camera installation sites. The presence of cameras at some intersections tends to change driver behavior over time and increases safety by eliminating the need for a traffic stop. Traffic cameras allow constant enforcement in active school and construction zones and are cost-effective since the cameras free up police officers for other duties.

Currently, if police stop drivers going over 10 mph in a school zone, the driver is pulled over for 10 to 15 minutes while a police officer writes a citation. The fine for breaking the law currently stands at $132, and the driver is charged three demerit points on their license. An automated photo enforcement citation would eliminate the need for an officer to stop a driver, and the fine is proposed to be $100 with no demerit points.

After analyzing the study, staff recommended a one-year pilot program expected to begin in August 2023 and run through July 2024. The pilot program will cost $850,000, which will come from local transportation funding. The cost would be recouped through fines and fees. Funding for the pilot program and launching will pay for staffing road markings, signage and camera installation. Future funding will come from program revenue.

Steps in the prelaunch phase of the pilot program will include completing the procurement process and hiring a vendor, finalizing locations based on data, upgrading locations and recommending a penalty structure.

The prelaunch phase will also include public hearings, an education and engagement campaign, establishing operating rules, site selection and identifying, procuring and contracting a vendor.

If the board adopts the use of cameras after the pilot program, red-light cameras could potentially be placed at 340 intersections and 100 school zones across the county. Camera installation locations would be based on crash injury data from 2018 to 2022.

Staff will report data and the efficacy of the program to the board in August 2024.

Link to This Article

Copy and paste the code below on your site to link to the article.

<a href="">PWC may pilot photo enforcement of traffic laws in school and work zones</a>

Follow Us on Twitter!/bullrunnow
Welcome Guest! | Login