YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Word has spread that the city of Youngstown is cracking down on speeders along accident-prone areas, including Interstate 680.
Those caught going more than 12 miles over the speed limit are now starting to get citations in the mail.
Cameras used by police officers nabbed around 1800 people from mid-August to mid-September.
“I take 680, every day, twice,” Nicholas Hart of Canton said. “Stopped speeding like a week ago when I heard the news.”
Here’s how the new camera-usage works. An officer points a laser traffic camera at a vehicle, capturing images of its license plate, which are sent to traffic safety solutions company Optotraffic. Technicians with the company then verify the vehicle’s owner and send them a ticket in the mail.
Hart said he’s already noticed traffic slow down.
“The right lane is going five under the speed limit, I’ve noticed,” Hart said. “So, I’m sticking with that lane rather than going..And no one’s really speeding that much for the past week.”
Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees said the goal is to cut the number of accidents in half.
“They’ve slowed down out there and that’s all we’re asking,” Lees said. “We figure about 156 man-hours that can be spent doing other things in the neighborhoods or engaged in other programs.”
Lees’ department will look over the numbers every three months, but expects to have a better idea of its impact by September of next year.
As for the speed limit on 680, especially between the South Avenue and Meridian Road exits, some drivers want a change.
“I really think they need to rezone that area of the highway,” Cindy Sarnowski of Poland said. “Fifty miles an hour is just totally ridiculous. Nobody goes 50 miles an hour.”
But Chief Lees said the limit is set by the state, based on engineering studies.
“For a freeway through a municipal corporation, it’s 50 miles an hour, and there’s really not much we can do to change that,” Lees said. “The other thing is, I think it’s really appropriate given the number of ramps and curves in the freeway.”
Some drivers said they’re not okay with the way the citations are being given. They want to come face-to-face with the officer rather than have them be hidden.
But for some, like Tyla Brown of Youngstown, the extra attention to those going above the speed limit is welcoming, making her feel safer as she drives around her two kids.
“Even though you can’t see them, it makes you think like, ‘I should be following the rules,’ because you don’t know where they are,” Brown said.