City introduces the $325 speeding ticket
As the traffic safety slogan says, "speed kills." But thanks to an ordinance passed by City Council yesterday, speed can also put a serious dent in your bank account.
As part of a city initiative to slow traffic on problem roads, Council adopted a resolution that tacks on an additional $200 to any speeding ticket drivers get on Old Lynchburg Road (City line to JPA), Avon Street (City line to Monticello Avenue), and Altavista Avenue (Monticello Avenue to Avon Street). Originally, traffic engineers had wanted six streets covered by the new ordinance, but city traffic engineer Jeanie Alexander said Council had fielded complaints about the program from some areas and decided to approve just three streets. Those problem roads not included are Rugby Avenue ( Rugby Road to Bypass), Elliott Avenue (Monticello Avenue to Ridge Street) and Brandywine Drive (Hydraulic Road to Yorktown Drive).
According to Alexander, traffic data showed speed problems on all six roads. On Avon Street, where the posted speed limit is 35 mph, drivers are averaging about 51 mph; on Altavista Avenue, where the speed limit is 25 mph, drivers are averaging about 41 mph; and on Old Lynchburg Road, where the speed limit is between 25 and 35 mph, drivers are averaging 41 mph.
Alexander says the program will begin September 1 and be re-evaluated after a six-month trial period. Signs announcing the additional fine will also be posted.
"By increasing the penalty, we're hoping to decrease the speed on those roads," says Alexander, who admits that city traffic engineers don't know if the plan will work. She cites a similar program in Lynchburg, which reduced traffic speed by 8 percent, "but that's only a 2-to-3 miles-an-hour reduction," she says.
Obviously, the program is an attempt to slow traffic down by pinching people where it hurts. Traffic tickets have a set fine of between $50-$75, with an additional $5 per mile over the speed limit. That means if you get caught going 45-mph on Avon Street, with its 35 mph speed limit, you could get a $325 speeding ticket. Ouch!