Local News

Sensors Track Speeders in Cary

Posted July 5, 2007 11:08 p.m. EDT
Updated July 5, 2007 11:25 p.m. EDT

— The Cary Police Department is trying a new method to put the brakes on speeders – a method that doesn't even require police to be present.

For the past eight months, Cary police have placed speed sensors in neighborhoods where drivers have a history of putting the pedal to the metal. The units have a radar gun and a display that tells drivers how fast they're traveling.

Residents along Southwest Maynard Road and West Johnson Street say they are glad to have seen the sensors out there this week.

"It depends on what time of the day it is. Usually, there's a lot of traffic," said Shannon Douglas of Southwest Maynard.

"I think it does slow people down a little bit. Once you see it, you do slow down," said Erica Douglas, also of Southwest Maynard Road resident.

"It's kind of like a warning. It lets you know you're speeding. You can use common knowledge to slow down," said Robert Sweet, a neighbor on West Johnson Street.

Police choose the locations to put their two sensors based on complaints about speeding in areas. The sensors stay at each location about a week.

"We were looking for another method to proactively get people to cooperate and lower their speeds in neighborhoods," said Lt. Mark Parker, head of Cary's traffic unit.

The results from the sensor program have been positive so far, said police. The Cary Town Council recently approved the purchase of two more sensors, which cost $3,800 each.

The sensors also allow police to track when the most congestion and the most speeding occur along a road. If speeding presents a severe enough problem for a given area, police said they may send extra patrols to write tickets.

According to preliminary numbers, only 19 cars of 1,200 recorded by the West Johnson Street sensor in the past three days have gone more than 5 mph over the speed limit. That makes extra patrols in the area unlikely, said police.

Southwest Maynard, however, could see more enforcement, police said.

"Most drivers very much think about anyone that would step out in front of them or dangerous things that occur while they're driving. This helps to remind them to keep their speed lower," said Parker.