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November 14, 2012 at 8:00 AM

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New school-zone cameras catch speeders

Driver should keep up with traffic flow

Regarding The Seattle Times story on newly installed speed cameras, it is a well-established principle in traffic-violation enforcement that a driver is allowed to “keep up with traffic” [“New cameras to snap school-zone speeders,” page one, Nov. 13].

The premise is that if the totality of the traffic flow is in excess of the speed limit, an individual driver creates more of a hazard when he, alone, drives at or under the limit than he does by increasing his speed to conform to the flow.

Where is the provision to account for this circumstance in the pilot speed-camera project? If 100 cars are speeding, will the city issue citations to 100 owners rather than consider that each individual driver is deciding to speed based on the legitimate understanding that this makes him more, and not less safe?

— Joel Schwartz, Seattle

Focus away from children

Once again, automated ticketing cameras are being installed at school zones. Although the intent is to discourage drivers from endangering children, the method focuses drivers’ attention on lights and signs, and away from the children.

Before the move to automation, school-zone speed-limit signs were conditional: “when children are present.” But now, the speed limit is based solely on time of day, regardless of whether anyone, adult or child, is actually there.

In the long run, this will do far more damage to the community than the cost of using technology to base school-zone speed-limit enforcement on the presence of pedestrians.

— Philip Zack, Renton

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