Radar units and the 85% rule

The Glengarry News - - News - BY RICHARD MA­HONEY News Staff

Ap­pear­ances can be de­ceiv­ing. That is why when it comes to col­lar­ing lead-footed driv­ers, cold num­bers are al­ways the best gauge.

“Too many times we have re­ceived a speed­ing com­plaint and found there to be no speed­ing prob­lem,” re­lates Ryan Mor­ton, North Glen­garry’s Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Works. “While stand­ing at the side of the road, a car do­ing 40 kilo­me­tres per hour in town seems very fast when it goes by you, but in fact it’s do­ing 10 kilo­me­tres per hour less than the speed limit.”

Num­bers recorded by radar units help au­thori­ities de­ter­mine lo­ca­tion of the real trou­ble spots.

Dig­i­tal speed in­di­ca­tor that have been posted on North Glen­garry streets and roads are part of a greater traf­fic man­age­ment plan.

“Coun­cil and staff have heard from the pub­lic about speed­ing and traf­fic con­cerns on High­way 34 and other ar­eas within the town­ship,” re­calls Mr. Mor­ton.

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and the united coun­ties of Stor­mont-Dun­das- Glen­garry have jointly pur­chased the units, at “very com­pet­i­tive” prices. North Glen­garry ac­quired four units for about $12,000.

“We have two units that are so­lar pow­ered that are in­tended to re­main in place for longer pe­ri­ods of time. We have an ad­di­tional two units which we in­tend to move about the Town­ship. Un­der­stand­ably we know that they are pop­u­lar and peo­ple want to see them in var­i­ous places,” says Mr. Mor­ton.

A fifth de­vice bought by the coun­ties will be ded­i­cated to county routes.

“These units are part of a greater strat­egy to in­ves­ti­gate, iden­tify and ad­dress speed­ing con­cerns

“Too many times we have re­ceived a speed­ing com­plaint and found there to be no prob­lem.”

within the town­ship,” con­tin­ues Mr. Mor­ton.

Once a com­plaint about speed­ing is re­ceived, of­fi­cials dis­creetly mon­i­tor the road with a radar data log­ging ma­chine. “Ve­hi­cles will not no­tice this de­vice and it gives us two weeks’ worth of ve­hi­cle ac­tiv­ity for the road in ques­tion,” ex­plains Mr. Mor­ton.

“We use the 85% rule. If 85% of the ve­hi­cles are do­ing the speed limit or un­der, we do not con­sider it a speed­ing prob­lem. (We can­not ex­pect 100% com­pli­ance ob­vi­ously.) If less than 85% of the ve­hi­cles are do­ing the speed limit or un­der, we con­sider it a speed­ing prob­lem. The de­vice al­lows us to sort out the data, find out when the speed­ing is oc­cur­ring, how of­ten and the best time for en­force­ment.”

This prac­tice en­ables the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to pro­vide the On­tario Pro­vin­cial Po­lice with hard data to ex­e­cute tar­geted en­force­ment on a spe­cific road dur­ing a spe­cific time for best re­sults. “We can­not ex­pect the OPP to sit at a lo­ca­tion all day long, so this is a huge ben­e­fit and tool for them,” ob­serves Mr. Mor­ton, not­ing the data is pro­vided to the po­lice and the com­plainant.

Based on the re­sults, the OPP will ini­ti­ate tar­geted en­force­ment first.


If the tar­geted en­force­ment is suc­cess­ful and no fur­ther com­plaints re­ceived, the is­sue is closed. If there are fur­ther com­plaints, the sit­u­a­tion is re­assessed through more mon­i­tor­ing.

“If con­firmed, we move on to in­stalling the vis­ual radar units as seen through­out the town­ship for a pe­riod of time.”

If the prob­lem per­sists, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity will look at “speed limit re­duc­tions, en­gi­neer­ing re­lated traf­fic calm­ing mea­sures or other so­lu­tions that may be avail­able.”

Mr. Mor­ton says: “The whole point to this strat­egy is to have data to back up our de­ci­sion-mak­ing. We do not want to be mak­ing rash or ad-hoc de­ci­sions based on the ‘ap­pear­ance of speed­ing.’ We want to make sure we re­duce a speed limit on a road­way be­cause it was re­quired and we tried ev­ery­thing else first. Oth­er­wise, we’d have re­duced speed lim­its all over the town­ship with no val­i­da­tion be­hind those de­ci­sions.”

CHECK YOUR SPEED: Dig­i­tal read-outs have ar­rived in area com­mu­ni­ties to re­mind driv­ers to check their speeds. Radar units, such as this one in Green­field, have been in­stalled through­out Stor­mont-Dun­das-Glen­garry.

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