Total of 1,588 traffic camera incidents in week one

Total of 1,588 traffic camera incidents in week one

PAWTUCKET – The total number of traffic camera “events” in week one of an official new traffic camera ticketing program was down sharply from the 10,000 or so weekly warnings given out over two months of a probationary period, but officials caution not to read too much into the data.

Wil Arboleda, spokesman for Mayor Donald Grebien, said there were 1,588 potential violations caught on school zone speed cameras and red-light traffic cameras last week, down from 10,896 events the previous week.

But, he said, three schools, Nathanael Greene Elementary, Slater Middle School and Cunningham Elementary, were closed last Friday, Nov. 1, due to a power outage, meaning cameras weren’t on in those school zones for that day. Greene is a particularly busy zone.

The cameras in school zones are on from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

Also helping lead to the lower numbers was the fact that a communication error through Verizon caused cameras to be offline during the early part of the week. Some cameras were back online last Tuesday, Oct. 29, and the rest came back online last Thursday, Oct. 31. The connection error was entirely due to an issue with Verizon and had nothing to do with the camera system itself, Arboleda said.

It’s difficult to say how many incidents there would have been had all cameras functioned properly, said Arboleda, and officials aren’t drawing any conclusions about whether having the program go live, with real consequences for speeding or running red lights, led to any widespread change in driver behavior.

“It’s difficult to say,” he said, but officials will continue with their outreach and public information campaign about this camera ticketing system designed to enhance public safety. Moving forward, he said, they’ll be able to gauge the effectiveness of the system much better.

He said he wasn’t sure when the cameras in the busy Newport Avenue school zone came back on.

Arboleda said the 1,588 figure represents incidents captured by cameras, and not necessarily tickets that will be mailed out.

Approximately 160 of the apparent violations last week were captured by red-light cameras, and the rest were in school zones.

Motorists who receive tickets can appeal them as they would a typical ticket through Municipal Court. These tickets are similar to parking tickets and don’t go on a driver’s record.