Redflex Traffic Systems, the company that once had unmanned, pole-mounted red-light and speed enforcement cameras in Oak Ridge, has a new handheld system that it says could be used to help make roads safer as the city tries to slow down speeding drivers. But the use of the devices hasn’t been approved yet, and one Oak Ridge City Council member expressed her strong opposition on Tuesday.
The new handheld LIDAR devices include a camera, and they can capture traffic violations on video. They use a laser technology to measure vehicle speeds and distances between vehicles, said Charlie Buckels, southeast U.S. sales manager for Redflex. LIDAR stands for light detection and ranging.
Buckels said the handheld devices could be used for both civil and criminal violations. In some cases, such as for speeding, police officers could use the devices and the evidence they collect to issue civil citations that could be mailed to the registered owners of violating vehicles. In those cases, officers wouldn’t have to stop the violators, Buckels said.
But in other cases—when a car is driving excessively fast or swerving, for example—police officers could pull vehicles over, Buckels said.
City officials said they have been discussing drivers traveling too fast on roadways in the city, including those coming into town on South Illinois Avenue in the morning and trying to get to work on time. Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said three City Council members have asked him to take action to combat speeding, and he’s had concerns himself about traffic on Illinois Avenue. Other roads cited by city officials Tuesday included Oak Ridge Turnpike, Robertsville Road, Melton Lake Drive, and Tennessee Avenue. [Read more…]