With only four full-time traffic officers in Wentzville, police say they have trouble enforcing the 25 mile per hour speed limits in neighborhoods. The city's police chief went to the Board of Aldermen on Wednesday night to ask if the city would approve the use of a speed camera.
"The number one complaint we get from residents in the City of Wentzville is speeders in neighborhoods," said Mayor Paul Lambi.
The speed camera would be portable and moved to various locations. Chief Robert Noonan told alderman that the speed camera would primarily be used on residential streets, but he won't rule out the possibility of using it on the interstate in the future.
The City of Charlack was one of the first to use a speed camera on an interstate. Charlack began using a camera to enforce the speed limit on a short stretch of northbound I-70 this summer. The move drew criticism from those who worried other small municipalities would put up more cameras along the interstate creating a redudant fine system. A driver could rack up hundreds of dollars in fines while driving through several different municipalities.
Chief Tony Umbertino, of the Charlack Police Department, says the camera is working to reduce speeding. The camera clocked an average of 1400 drivers an hour speeding 70 mph or more during a study in July. Last month, the camera clocked an average of 40 speeders an hour, according to Umbertino.
Citations in Charlack are issued to the registered owner of the vehicle. The camera does not capture an image of the driver.
In Wentzville, police say citations would be issued to the driver. A two-camera system would show the driver and passenger of the vehicle.
Fines cost speeders one dollar for every mile over the speed limit, plus a $22.50 court fee. Drivers caught by a speed camera would pay an additional $35 per citation. That fee pays the speed camera company, RedFlex, for the costs of equipment and maintainance.
It's too soon to say if the Board of Aldermen will approve the use of a speed camera. Wednesday night marked the first discussion on the issue. Mayor Lambi says he supports the idea. He said that if the aldermen decide to draw up a bill and vote on it, the camera could go up in two months.