Speed camera bill would keep $95 fine on third violation

Dan McGowan

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Drivers caught on traffic cameras speeding in school zones would receive a warning on the first offense, a $50 fine on the second and a $95 fine on all subsequent violations, under a proposal introduced Wednesday by four Democratic state representatives.

The legislation, sponsored by Reps. Bob Craven, Grace Diaz, Anastasia Williams and Carol McEntee, would also require better signage to warn drivers of the speed limits near the cameras, including flashing lights.

Diaz and Williams both work for the city of Providence, the only municipality that currently has a school-zone speed camera program.

The proposal comes after Target 12 reported the city issued more than 12,000 speeding violations within the first 33 days of deploying five speed cameras through the city, a figure that state lawmakers labeled excessive. The cameras have now generated more than 17,000 violations, and six more cameras are expected to begin catching speeders Monday.

The General Assembly approved legislation in 2016 allowing cities and towns to use speed cameras, and Providence entered into a contract last year with Conduent State and Local Solutions Inc., the private vendor that also oversees the city’s red light cameras. The contract allows for up to 15 portable cameras.

Tickets can be issued for any vehicle caught traveling at least 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, according to the contract with Conduent. The cameras are also portable, and the city is allowed to move two of them to new locations each week.

Mayor Jorge Elorza has said he is open to lowering the fine on the speed cameras, but that would require a change to the state law. A spokesperson for the mayor said the city is “reviewing the legislation but as we have said before, the administration is open to reforming the policy and fees of the program.”

The Providence City Council has also announced it plans to conduct a full review of the camera program. Council President David Salvatore has said he is open to making changes to the program, but supports keeping the cameras in place.

A group of activists are expected to attend a council meeting Thursday night to protest the cameras.

Continue the discussion on FacebookDan McGowan (dmcgowan@wpri.com) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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