Sunday, February 16, 2020

Police Surprised at Amount of Speeding

Even the Police said "eye-opening"
It was nice to see the front page article today on speeding and automated camera enforcement for speeding and red light violations.

But it's still framed up as almost like service journalism: Don't get caught doing this basically innocent thing we know everybody is doing! The dominant frame is about driver convenience - don't be inconvenienced by a ticket - rather than about road safety and our obligation to other road users.

The full lethality of driving and driving speed is evaded a little.

But look at the scope of the problem:
Once the speed tracking capabilities went live at the intersection of Fisher and Silverton roads NE, more than 1,100 speeding tickets were issued in October, November and December — nearly three times the number of tickets issued to red-light runners at the same intersection in the same three months.
10mph makes a huge difference - via Placemakers
And remember also that a person really has to be speeding to be ticketed, and a certain apparently "banal" level of speeding of one to 10mph over the limit is tolerated:
When a vehicle approaches an intersection going 11 mph or more over the limit, the system triggers the camera to capture the image of the vehicle and records its speed.
The fact that we're surprised remains surprising. Public Works and transportation planners routinely conduct and have access to speed studies, and the 85th percentile engineering doctrine nearly always discloses astonishing levels of speeding.

Here's one from right in front of Statesman-Journal-HQ from the Commercial-Vista Corridor study of a few years ago.

From the Commercial Vista Corridor study
If they were surprised at 1,100 over three months,
how about 4000 a day! (red comments added)
So it's great to see more visibility for the problem of speeding, but it would be nice to see the frame shift so that we don't talk about "inconvenience" to drivers anymore, and about expectations for speed and free-flow, and instead we talk primarily about the way speeding inconveniences and harms people on foot, on bike, and others in cars.

The harm and problem is speeding, not the ticket or any intrusive nanny state.

See also:


Jim Scheppke said...

The speed limit at Fisher and Silverton is 35 so the 1,100 drivers who got tickets were going 46 mph or greater -- lethal speed. We need these cameras all over the city.

Susann Kaltwasser said...

At the last ELNA neighborhood association meeting, Councilor Chris Hoy announced that he will be asking the City Council to look at the speed limits on Fisher and 45th Ave. He said that there is talk about Salem asking the State for the right to regulate their own speed limits as Portland is doing. I hope that this gets traction. But without enforcement it is a moot point what the speed limit might be.

In the past when we have asked why there is not more traffic enforcement the on duty police officer says that it is often too dangerous for them to pursue a speeder in traffic. Even if they can get turned around, it is not safe to try to stop a speeder on many of our major streets. So, to me more cameras make a whole lot of sense. If you are not speeding, this should not bother anyone.

When the video from the Police Department first came out, I contacted the Police Chief and asked if they intended to tell people how to beat the camera. He said, yes. They were hoping the deterrent would be enough and yet not bring on a lot of backlash if people were ticketed for going just a mile or two over the limit. Believe it or not, an officer often does not enforce the law either unless it is over 10 miles above the speed limit.

Evan said...

It looks like HB 4103 has some momentum. Looks like cities - and Lane and Multnomah Counties - may get the authority, if legislators stay in the state and can vote on it.

It's a very bipartisan bill and moved out of committee 10-2.