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Mayfield Village police seeking addition of photo-enforcement program

photo enforced traffic cameras
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 06:25:58-04

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio — The Mayfield Village police chief is asking the City Council to consider implementing a new photo-enforcement program with the goal of slowing down recent speeders in Interstate 271.

Mayfield Village Police Chief Paul Matias said that the Mayfield Village Police Department has noticed a substantial increase in drivers speeding on I-271 in comparison to 2019, according to Ohio Department of Transportation traffic cameras.

"It was over a 100% increase in the number of cars that were traveling at 85 [mph] or above," Matias said.

The police chief said the department increased enforcement on the roadways, issuing more than 200 tickets since the start of this year, but there is still an ongoing issue of speeding in the area.

"We were noticing that when officers were doing the traffic stops, the other motorists on the road were returning to their high speeds," Matias said. "They're stopped and they get a car that goes by them at 90 miles an hour and they have to pull out, make their way through traffic and conduct a traffic stop."

To combat this issue, Matias hopes the City with consider implementing the photo-enforcement program to monitor speeding and enforce the limit in the area.

Matias is asking the City to approve a contract for the use of handheld lasers and cameras with units managed by a company called Sensys Gatso, which are also contracted by the Parma and Newburgh Heights police departments. The cameras are not fixed and would be operated by officers during rush hours.

"What'll happen is instead of doing the traffic stop, we take pictures, record that data and then the company we're using will actually send out citations to the vehicle owner," Matias said.

A study conducted in Maryland by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safetyshowed that 7½ years after a speed camera program was implemented, there was a 62% reduction in the likelihood of a vehicle traveling more than 10 mph over the speed limit in the area.

Studies have also showed that speed cameras can reduce the likelihood of crashes in an area where they are implemented.

If caught speeding on one of the cameras in Mayfield Village, a driver would receive a civil fine, with part of the revenue going to the company monitoring the camera, so points would not be added to the driver's record and officers would not process the fines.

Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at IIHS, said that there are proven safety benefits to implementing a speed camera program but it also requires transparency from city officials.

"Time and time again we've really seen big benefits. We've seen the proportion of vehicles that are going 10 miles an hour or more over the speed limit to drop by more than 60%," Cicchino said. "People know how to contest their tickets if if they get one, and to make sure that we're really focusing on the kinds of violations that are really going to be bad for safety."

While the Mayfield Village Police Department is hopeful the program can be implemented, details are still being worked out, including how much fines would be and how drivers would contest the fines in court, before Mayfield Village City Council votes on the ordnance.

Mayfield Village is among other cities considering similar programs, including Lorain.

RELATED: Lorain studying speed enforcement cameras; mayor says police are stretched thin

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