Letter: Council should have supported speed-enforcement bill

Posted 2/22/21

To the editor:

Regarding the article, “Lawmaker puts the brakes on automated speed enforcement,”thanks to Sen. Seveney and Rep. Cortvriend for sponsoring a bill to provide enabling …

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Letter: Council should have supported speed-enforcement bill

Posted

To the editor:

Regarding the article, “Lawmaker puts the brakes on automated speed enforcement,” thanks to Sen. Seveney and Rep. Cortvriend for sponsoring a bill to provide enabling legislation for traffic speed cameras on RI state roads. They are to be applauded for trying to reduce death and disability from accidents, especially on East and West Main roads.

A resolution to support this legislation that was sought from the Portsmouth Town Council has failed however, as four councilors have voted against it.

This legislation would not have mandated traffic cameras in Portsmouth or anywhere else in the state; it was just a well-intentioned initiative to allow traffic cameras at the discretion of local cities and towns.

Unfortunately and surprisingly, those four councilors voted against the advice of their own Portsmouth police chief. 

But those four are not the ones expected to stand unprotected in police details on East Main Road while they are directing speeding traffic at the Polo Center. Nor are they expected as first responders to have to use equipment like the Jaws of Life to pull bodies of crash victims out of cars on East and West Main roads. Does Mr. Hamilton have an idea at all about the risk to law enforcement when they have to get out of their cruisers pull over speeding drivers on busy roads?

This legislation is far too important to let it be derailed by four councilors, as their decision seems likely to kill this bill for everyone who uses state roads. And for what purpose? “Privacy,” that in reality is almost non-existent?

Your article did not mention any alternative suggestions from the four councilors. If there are any, what are they? 

I implore Sen. Seveney and Rep. Cortvriend to continue this initiative, and to respect the expertise and experience of Police Chief Peters who said that the systems have proven to be effective in slowing down drivers. He emphasized, “It’s just another tool in the toolbox to do what we can” to make the roadways safer in Portsmouth.

Thanks also to Police Chief Peters, and the three councilors who voted in support of this initiative. 

Judith A. Byrnes, RN

Newport

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