PAWTUCKET – Fines for both speeding in school zones and running local red lights are on a sharp decline, showing that motorists are increasingly being trained and incentivized to follow traffic laws.
The Breeze recently reported on a city budget proposal showing decreased annual revenues of $425,000 for the upcoming budget “due to increased compliance” at intersections. At $85 per pop for a red-light ticket, that’s about 5,000 tickets down.
Data provided by Chief of Police Tina Goncalves also shows that speed camera revenue is down.
For the January-April time period in 2022, there were 31,954 total speed citations generated at 14 speed camera locations.
For that same four-month period in 2023, those numbers were down to 22,825 total citations.
According to Chief of Staff Dylan Zelazo, the city is set to make changes that will reverse the downward revenue numbers for the speed cameras.
“We’re in the process of adding speed cameras, so we expect the additional speed cameras to offset the reduction elsewhere,” he said.
The total volume of red-light cameras, he said, will remain the same, so that downward trend due to increased compliance is likely to remain.
According to Jeannine Bourski, the city’s acting finance director, red-light cameras had brought in $4,390,790 total since 2020, through April 11. School speed zone cameras have brought in $12,054,005 since 2020.
The city paid out $5,379,522 in fees for the cameras to private vendor Sensys Gatso.
For speed cameras, citation numbers:
• Declined from 9,299 in January 2022 to 7,287 in January 2023;
• Declined from 6,184 citations in February 2022 to 4,633 citations in 2023;
• Declined from 9,529 citations in March 2022 to 6,204 citations in 2023;
• And declined from 6,942 citations in April 2022 to 4,701 citations in 2023.
Pawtucket officially launched the Traffic Camera Safety Program with a warning period in August of 2019.
Violations in school speed zones bring a ticket of $50, while running a red light means an $85 ticket.
Officials have emphasized since the beginning that the primary goal of the program is enhanced public safety. More than three-quarters of speed zone cameras are typically going to out-of-town drivers who aren’t as familiar with the rules, while city residents have generally become more accustomed to driving more slowly.
Those of us who have been hit by vehicles going through stop signs appreciate the increased safety. Every day I see cars gliding through stop signs and endangering pedestrians; the other day I saw a car passing a stopped school bus with the full flashing lights and stop sign out. If people obeyed the rules they wouldn't get fined. And I can tell you from personal experience, if you have to stop and deal with the bicyclist you hit because after all, that stop sign didn't apply to you, it will take you a lot longer than just STOPPING.
I don't know how we have survived all these years without the traffic cameras. Such danger- until now.
Judith, your absolutely correct in regards to the extremely unsafe driving habits of many. I just wanted to make a distinction that your still seeing those issues despite most of these cameras. Why? These cameras are solely for the purpose of generating revenue and have nothing to do with safety. As a result, your city officials aren’t doing anything to actually prevent dangerous drivers. That’s the issue we are presenting in these comments. They need revenue and they are placing cameras & manipulating traffic laws in certain areas to ensure they receive this revenue “in the name of safety” keeping in mind they have no data to show how these cameras made us safer, only data regarding revenue
It’s laughable that you write this is about safety, this is a money, grab plain and simple. They literally said their adding more cameras because their not generating enough revenue. What a garbage thing to do to your citizens. Your supposed to be in this position because you know how to generate revenue in much better ways rather than just picking their pockets with these cameras. It shows you’re not smart and you’re not intelligent enough to work for the citizens. Go be a bag at a grocery store instead.
How does this build trust between the public and its government? None of us feel like we need more traffic safely. And no one asked us. So please quit trying to help us. Reduce spending starting with city council council members refusing their health benefits would be a good place to start.
Pawtucket is such a horrible place.
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