The Altavista City Council is scheduled to discuss placing speed cameras in select locations in town at its next work session on July 21.
Chief Tommy Merricks said the state recently authorized towns to install cameras that track vehicles’ speeds and can photograph their tags and send their information to local police departments to enforce speed limits in school and work zones. Merricks said any tickets given this way will simply be a civil penalty of $100 and will not affect anyone’s driver’s license or insurance.
“This is not a revenue thing,” Merricks said. “This is a slow down thing to try to get people to comply.”
Merricks said he wanted to bring the new technology to the town’s attention because of complaints he receives about speeding on Lynch Mill Road and Bedford Avenue near Altavista Elementary and Combined schools.
Merricks said an alternative to the speed cameras could be what he calls radar signs, or signs that show drivers both the speed limit and their current speed. Merricks said the town would pay a one-time fee for such signs, while installing speed cameras would be revenue neutral, as the revenue generated from tickets would cover the cost of the cameras.
“Ultimately it’s up to council,” Merricks said. “Both of these are viable alternatives. I do like the idea that the speed cameras would be civil penalties and not penalties that would go against your driving record and your driving license.”