Hattiesburg considering traffic light cameras at dangerous intersections

Published 1:12 am Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hattiesburg city officials are considering using traffic light cameras that will ticket those who run red lights even if an officer isn’t present.

The Hattiesburg City Council is examining putting the cameras at the city’s most dangerous intersections and will hear a presentation from the company Traffipax on Monday.

The company specializes in law enforcement technology systems.

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Councilwoman Deborah Denard Delgado invited a company representative to the meeting.

“I have people complaining how traffic goes too fast in different parts of the community,” Delgado said in an article at www.hattiesburgamerican.com. “We have people that run traffic lights (which) makes some of our intersections dangerous.”

The traffic safety systems company’s products are used in more than 60 countries, company representative Rachel Bierma said. Delgado said Bierma’s presentation to the council is for informational purposes only.

“The goal is to use technology to capture the violator and not have to use an officer to pull a driver over and write a ticket,” Bierma said. “We would get a list of the top problem intersections from the police department based on written violations and crashes.”

The Hattiesburg Police Department said three of the city’s most dangerous points are Hardy Street intersections at U.S. 49, Westover Drive and Weathersby Road.

Police spokeswoman LaShana Sorrell said the department is currently in the process of researching the camera systems and is interested in the technology.

Sorrell said officers issued more than 1,500 tickets to drivers in 2007 for ignoring red lights or other “traffic control devices.” More than 2,700 were issued for speeding.

Should a driver run a watched-over light, cameras capture two images of the vehicle that are date and time stamped and reviewed by representatives from Traffipax and the police department.

“The police department will receive a batch of citations to do a final review,” Bierma said. “Once they have said yes, we mail (citations).”