The St. Kitts-Nevis Observer
No. 827 • September 3, 2010
 
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Police to Utilize Mobile Radar Speed Detectors
By Sheena Brooks

 

Sgt. Mike Kenyan, certified police traffic radar instructor, speaks before local law enforcement
 
The number of drivers issued speeding tickets may drastically increase now that police vehicles will be outfitted with mobile radar speed detectors.

Some 20 officers attended a four-day training course this week, facilitated by Sergeant Mike Kenyan, a certified police traffic radar instructor from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department in Florida.

The first two days were spent covering the theoretical aspects of operating the new equipment, and the latter two on the practical application of the devices on the streets of Basseterre.

Traffic Department Head Inspector Cromwell Henry explained that the mobile speed detectors could be affixed to any police vehicle and functioned while the vehicle was in motion.

“These radar detectors can be put into any police vehicle because they are easily transportable and simple to install. They just plug into the lighter outlet and they are ready to go. With radar guns, officers would have to be stationed at one spot at a time and this allows persons to warn other drivers who may be speeding or violating traffic or criminal laws as to the officers’ location. The mobile units function when the vehicle is in motion, and this allows officers to cover a wider area, and are virtually undetectable until the speeding driver is pulled over,” he said.

Inspector Henry told The Observer that the new units could detect a vehicle’s speed from both the front and rear of the police vehicle. He said this would be helpful in situations where drivers travelling above the speed limit decrease their speed when approaching a police vehicle then accelerate once they had passed it.

Use of the mobile radar speed detectors will be beneficial to drivers and pedestrians alike, Inspector Henry informed. He added that there were other benefits to be derived besides less traffic accidents, including lower auto insurance premiums.
“With vehicle speeds below 20 miles per hour the probability of serious or fatal injury is less than 20 percent; with speeds above 35 mph, most injuries are fatal or incapacitating. Speeding puts not only the person behind the speeding vehicle’s wheel at risk but also whoever that vehicle hits, whether it’s a pedestrian or another driver. As the rate of traffic accidents increases in a country, so does the cost to persons insuring their vehicles,” he said.

The course was sponsored by NAGICO Insurance, the TDC Group of Companies, National Caribbean Insurance, and Caribbean Alliance Insurance.

Inspector Henry emphasized that issuing speeding tickets was not a form of punishment for drivers or a way to increase government revenues. Speeding tickets will, however, run offenders a minimum fine of EC$250. The fine increases by $100 for every additional 10 miles over the speed limit after the first 10 miles.

“We are not out there targeting anyone. What we hope is that drivers reduce speeds and stay within the legal speed ranges. This year there has been an increase in the number of traffic accidents that resulted in injuries. Sometimes persons do not realise that no matter how good a driver he or she may be, things can go wrong and the unexpected can happen. The faster a vehicle is travelling, the less time there is for the driver to react in order to avoid collision or to regain control,” he said.

According to Henry, although the Traffic Department continually received complaints about persons speeding through highly populated residential areas and school zones, a large number of persons also travelled well above the speed limit on the new highways in Basseterre.

“Anywhere there is a long, straight, smooth stretch of road people tend to speed, especially on the new by-pass roads. The legal speed limit on those roads is 40 miles per hour, and in residential areas it’s 20 miles per hour. Even travelling at 20 miles an hour is considered somewhat dangerous in areas where kids are at play, so there are signs around the various schools that warn drivers to reduce speed in those areas,” he said.

The Traffic Department Head would not say how many of the mobile radar speed detectors the Police Force had acquired, but informed this media house that each unit costs about EC$5000. He said the officers attending the course came from the Traffic Department and from police stations across the country, and that they would become certified at the culmination of training.

Inspector Henry revealed that the new equipment will go into use in the very near future, following the successful training and certification course which ends this Saturday, Sept. 4.
 
 
 
 
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