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Dear Mahatma: When will the Legislature wise up on the issue of speed cameras in work zones? I'm guessing a couple of months of enforcement in the Interstate 630 work zones would more than pay for itself. --Guy Doing the Speed Limit

Dear Guy: Interesting topic. The Legislature of Virginia has passed a bill for the state's first speed-camera program. If signed by Gov. Ralph Northam, the bill would allow Virginia State Police to use the cameras only in highway work zones.

Cynics would cite the nose of a camel regarding "only in highway work zones." Because once the camel gets its nose inside the tent, the rest invariably follows.

Camels are big, smelly irascible creatures. Kind of like the issue of traffic cameras.

Here in Arkansas, traffic cameras are no issue at all. Because our Legislature, in its wisdom, has passed a law disallowing police agencies and municipalities to use any kind of traffic-enforcement cameras.

More than 130 cities around the country use speed cameras. And 422 have red-light cameras. So says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Traffic-enforcement cameras have advocates -- drivers don't want a ticket, and so obey the traffic laws. Opponents say the cameras are naked grabs for revenue. (Our spelling preference, naturally, is "nekkid.")

The insurance institute has studied the matter. One of its findings is that red-light camera programs in 79 large cities saved nearly 1,300 lives through 2014, and that shutting down such programs causes the rate of fatal red light-running crashes to rise 30 percent.

We asked the Arkansas Department of Transportation for a position on the matter of speed cameras in its construction zones. The agency, through a spokesman, said it had no position.

As our reader deduces, the matter rests with the Legislature.

All we know is that this issue is complicated, and lies at the intersection of safety, politics and perception. Meanwhile, we shake our head at drivers who speed through red at our nearest signalized intersection.

Dear Mahatma: The first time I traversed Arkansas 298 from Arkansas 5, Benton to Paron, I turned back a couple of times because there are no signs indicating I was still on 298. The road is rural and crooked. No signs. I know hunters have been known to use the signs for target practice but there aren't even any, uh, holy signs. -- Jim

Dear Jim: We passed your comment to the Arkansas Department of Transportation. David Nilles of that agency hopped in his car to take a look. He confirms signs for 298 as drivers approach, and signs as they turn onto the road. Otherwise, a 14-mile stretch of no signage.

Additional signage would be called "confirmation signs," but since no other road intersects 298 they aren't required.

There are some instances when confirmation signs are advantageous to avoid confusion. Mr. Nilles admits our reader may have found such a place.

Vanity plate on an Infinity: LVUMNIT.

Metro on 03/30/2019

Print Headline: DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Cameras in work zones not likely


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Archived Comments

  • Jfish
    March 30, 2019 at 2:33 p.m.

    I have complained for years about no cameras. Look at how much money we (the taxpayers) spend on picking up litter along our roadways. Much of it if not picked up, ends up in a storm drain and then in our rivers and streams. What can you say? This is Arkansas and we are generally behind in pretty much everything. As the ole saying goes, Thank God for Mississippi.