County Board approves speed cameras in schools and work areas | ARLnow
New speed enforcement cameras could arrive in Arlington school and work zones by the end of this year.
The county council vote Saturday to have speed cameras installed throughout the county near schools and on public roads where construction is underway.
Council members presented the cameras as a tool to protect children, reduce serious and fatal accidents — an initiative known as Vision Zero — as well as reducing racial and ethnic disparities in traffic enforcement and relieving overworked Arlington County Police Department officers.
“The idea that we can keep our community safe, combat this behavior, and then reduce the demand on the police and reduce the interactions with the police is just a really encouraging step for us,” the board chairperson said. administration, Katie Cristol.
The vote follows the state law enactment in 2020 allowing municipalities to install speed cameras.
It also coincides with an anecdotal increase in speeding around schools, according to council member Libby Garvey (although speeding-related crashes in school zones have remained relatively constant at 10 per year, per county).
“Maybe there hasn’t been a huge increase in accidents, but there has been an increase in bad behavior, and that’s quite concerning,” she said. “It’s about children and safety.”
Last fall, Arlington County took steps to make school zones safer by lowering speed limits to 20 mph around 13 schools.
County staff review best practices, crash data, equity issues, and other local factors to determine where to place cameras, Vision Zero project manager Christine Baker told the county council. School zones encompass a radius of 600 feet from a crosswalk or school access point.
“We plan to be strategic and intentional about where we place speed cameras to ensure they are effective in reducing speeds and also promoting justice and fairness,” Baker said.
Board members said this should reassure motorists who also travel to DC and feel that camera locations are chosen to “trap” them and generate revenue rather than correct their behavior.
Here’s what drivers need to know.
When will the program start?
Locations could be selected by this fall and the program could begin as soon as cameras and warning signs are installed, either this winter or early 2023.
Who will get the quotes?
Anyone going 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. Each citation will be issued after a sworn officer of the CSPA has reviewed the images.
How much will the quotes cost? What are the other penalties?
Citations for the first 30 days of the program will be warnings without fines. After that, they are fined $50, the same as red light camera violations. Fines will go to the general fund.
Violations will be civil and not criminal, meaning they will not add points to a person’s driver’s license or count for insurance purposes. Drivers can challenge violations.
How much will the program cost?
The program will cost $600,000 a year, and for now, the CSPA expects the fines to offset the costs of the program, Capt. Albert Kim told the county council. The costs include the purchase of 10 cameras, which can be moved, the installation of the cameras, the operation of the program, the ticket office and the salary of the full-time police employee who reviews the images.
Where can I learn more about speed cameras?
Information in multiple languages will be available on the county’s website. The county will increase communication about the program through community mailing lists and APS and ACPD communication channels as the start date approaches.
How will my data be protected?
State law requires Arlington Police and the third-party vendor to delete the images and shred the physical documents containing personally identifiable information within a certain time period: 60 days after reviewing the images and determining that the driver has not not expedited, or within 60 days of a driver paying a fine, Kim said.
Could the program change in the future?
Yes, but it will require more state legislation. The county board asked the state to expand the use of speed cameras beyond school and freeway work zones, and on Saturday, board members offered other ideas for issuing fines and penalizing speeding motorists.
Council vice-chairman Christian Dorsey suggested requiring service as a school crossing guard, which would alleviate the county’s “insufficient supply of school crossing guards”.
“We know that for many people a $50 fine is an irritant, not a problem. I want to make sure we don’t have people engaging in this repeated activity without understanding the consequences,” he said. “On the other hand, there are people for whom $50 is a serious issue. I wish they could fulfill their obligation to us in a meaningful way that doesn’t compromise their safety.
Board member Takis Karantonis said the state should allow more flexibility in calculating fines, rather than providing a fixed maximum of $100. He said fines should be calculated based on three factors: whether the driver exceeded the speed limit, the number of times the driver was caught speeding and the driver’s income.