So last month, we learned about the idea of putting cameras up to make the Rome High school zone safer. Do not misunderstand me — I am for safer roads and safety for all. But these cameras to “catch” speeders are a bad idea.
In its test run, the company states how many cars were traveling well over 45 mph in the 9-hour test period. What they do not tell you is that the speed limit is only 45 mph for a narrow time in the morning and at dismissal time when the lights are flashing. All other times the speed limit is 55 mph. I was told last month by someone that should know that the speed enforcement would occur only an hour before and an hour after school each day. How naïve we are to believe that it will stop there?
And then there is the fact that the ticket goes to the owner of the vehicle, not the driver. One of the basic foundations of our justice system is the right to face your accuser. And remember, it is not the vehicle that is breaking the law — it’s the driver. Even though each (ticket) will be “reviewed” by an officer, make no mistake — it is the camera that is making the charge. Cameras for traffic monitoring are a great idea, but they do not pay for themselves.
Last month, the city school board expressed reservations about this new venture and rightly so. I am proud of them for stating so publicly and applaud them. But the city commission appears ready to move forward no matter (even though they stated the school board would have to be in agreement).
If someone really had a bucket of money, I’d think a ticket generated to a vehicle and not the driver could be challenged through the court system and camera generated tickets would be banned.
As citizens, the drivers and vehicle owners in Rome should demand we don’t go there. There are other initiatives to make our students, faculty and staff safe. Don’t take the easy way.
Hal M. Storey