Testing to begin on relocated traffic cameras

The relocated traffic cameras from the Crockett Square intersections of Highway 25E have been set up and will soon be activated for a test phase on State Road 160 and farther north on 25E.

Morristown Police Chief Roger Overholt discussed the move at a city council meeting last December, noting with the Tennessee Department of Transportation work at Crockett Square, the cameras were no longer needed.

The speed cameras, which also issued citations to motorists who rapidly turned right on red, were removed from Highway 25E when construction began in front of the Crockett Square shopping center.

In a press release, city officials noted the automated safety enforcement cameras, which have been on Highway 25E since May 2009. The relocated cameras on 25E, North of Dalton Ford Road going southbound and north of Wilson Hale Road for the northbound lanes, will begin testing soon, according to the MPD.

The system to monitor Highway 160 traffic, located north of Sulphur Springs Road northbound and South of Sulphur Springs Road southbound, will also begin a testing phase soon.

Both Highway 25E and 160 have a large number of speed violations. The systems are set, as they were before, to only be activated by vehicles travelling 11 miles or more above the posted speed limit, according to the MPD.

Overholt indicated in December that traffic monitoring shows that approximately 4,000 motorists each month exceed the speed limits on Highway 25E and Highway 160 by 11 mph or more, according to Overholt.

City officials said reactivating the cameras, which are typically unpopular with voters, will allow officers to be deployed to other problem areas and to perform other police related tasks.

Both local and national statistics have shown that the use of automated safety enforcement systems reduces crashes and allows for redeployment of police resources, a point Overholt stressed to the city council in the December meeting in which the camera relocation was discussed.

At that meeting, councilmember Chris Bivens noted that state law dictates that local governments cannot require motorists to actually pay the citations, which do not appear on a driver’s record.

“The police department’s ultimate goal is not to get people to pay,” Overholt told the Tribune in December. “Our goal is (for motorists) to be attentive to their driving and slow down. The data shows that when an automated speed camera system is deployed, they will do that. Also, our experience is that honest people will pay their citations for the violations.”

According to an MPD release, last year was one of the deadliest for Morristown drivers.

“Statistics show that ignoring traffic violations increases vehicle crashes … Both local and national statistics have shown that the use of automated safety enforcement systems reduces crashes and allows for redeployment of police resources,” the release stated.

The MPD asks that drivers be attentive and adhere to the speed limit in all areas to increase safety and reduce crashes in our city.

From Staff Reports

Posted on Monday, June 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm