DOVER, Del.- Dover Police Chief Jim Hosfelt wants Delaware lawmakers to try again to pass a law that would allow cities to use cameras to catch speeders in road work and school zones. He asked the Dover City Council on Monday night for support in his push.
Lawmakers have looked at doing this before. A bill passed the state House in 2009 but didn't go any further. And there was another try in 2011, but it was defeated in the House. The idea has not been brought back up yet in this legislative session.
Hosfelt wants to change that.
The signs are everywhere in school zones and in work zones telling drivers to slow down. These cameras would catch drivers who don't.
Geri Cahill of Lewes has experience with them.
"I moved here from Maryland. They have them a lot. In the school zones, it was good. It slowed people down."
"It sounds like it's a good idea if it keeps kids and workers safe on the roads," Veronica Austin, of Milford.
Previous versions of the plan allowed cities to put cam ears within a quarter mile of work and school zones. Drivers caught going more than 11 miles per hour above the speed limit would pay a small fine but no points, no mark on their driving records.
"To my knowledge the whole state is not allowed to do it at this point," Scott Koenig, Dover city manager. "Because there isn't authorizing legislation. The point of that bill is to set that up and begin the process."
Koenig says the cameras would be very useful.
"We get a lot of community complaints about speeding especially near schools. Work zone safety is a big deal, because of the fact that accidents in work zones typically are significant injury accidents."
Brice Hall, of Dover, says the camera systems are faulty, and he worries about the cost of the program.
"I don't think we need more traffic cameras. I think we could have our tax dollars going to better things."
Koenig says it's possible, like the red light cameras, these cameras might not cost cities anything up front. In that scenario, instead, the vendor would get a portion of each fee paid.
Hosfelt said his motorcycle officers spend a lot of their time doing speed enforcement in school zones, and these cameras would allow them to go elsewhere. He believes that would be a better use of resources.