Council sorts out traffic camera details

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Youngstown City Council is installing traffic cameras in school zones around the city, and on Wednesday, members decided how much a violation will cost.

Ten traffic cameras will be installed in time for the start of the school year. Council approved an agreement with Redflex Traffic Systems out of Phoenix, Ariz., in January after four years of discussion.

There will be a 30-day grace period, during which a warning letter will be sent to motorists caught speeding by the camera.

The cost of a ticket for someone going 13 mph over the 20 mph speed limit in school zones will be $100. It will be $120 for someone going between 14 and 19 mph over the posted speed limit. The cost will be $150 for anyone going more than 20 mph over the speed limit.

“We set up a threshold, hopefully that’s reasonable for people. It’s not going to be 21 miles an hour when you’re in a 20 mile an hour zone. It’s going to be something that’s rational,” said Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley.

The fines will be split between the city and the company, with Redflex keeping about 30 percent of the fines collected. The rest will go into an account the city can use to support traffic camera personnel and enforcement.

Foley said the cameras will not be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will be operating Monday through Friday in the morning, at recess time and after school. The law also requires the city to put up signs to let drivers know traffic cameras are in use.

“And I do want to make sure drivers know where they’re at. They’re not there to catch speeders to pay fines for the city, they’re there to deter speeding,” said 5th Ward Councilman Paul Drennen.

Youngstown Deputy Law Director Anthony Donofrio said the violation is a civil penalty, not a criminal violation, so there’s no record of the violation at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Columbus.

The cameras are mobile, so they can be used in other parts of the city, but council members said they only plan to use them in school zones.

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