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Red-light cameras catch 3,000-plus in 45 days

More than 3,000 people received warning letters from the town of Farragut during the 45-day warning period for the Town’s new automated enforcement camera system.

The cameras recorded 3,913 incidents.

Warning letters were issued for 3,019 of those incidents.

“I really didn’t have expectations. It probably was a little higher than I expected, [but] if it is, it’s only slightly,” Town photo enforcement program manager Ben Harkins said.

“One thing is for sure about those numbers: that it’s not a true representation of the number of violations that occurred during the warning period,” he added.

That’s because two approaches didn’t record an unknown number of violations due to technical difficulties.

In addition, automated enforcement camera company Redflex didn’t pass along to Harkins 542 incidents because of technical issues with the camera and/or flash operation at other approaches.

“Concord Road approaching Kingston Pike and Smith Road approaching Kingston Pike … they got them working correctly the last 7 or 8 days of the warning period,” Harkins said.

All the approaches are believed to be working correctly now.

Now that all the cameras are functioning correctly, Harkins said he expected the number of violations to go up.

The cameras went live Nov. 17; violators will be sent a $50 citation.

The cameras have been placed at Campbell Station Road and Kingston Pike, Concord Road and Kingston Pike and at Smith Road and Kingston Pike.

After the road-widening project is completed, cameras will be placed at Grigsby Chapel Road/Parkside Drive and Campbell Station Road.

“Basically, the theme in this is to get people to stop,” Harkins said.

That includes reminding drivers a “rolling stop” isn’t a stop.

“Stop means stop, and I guess that’s the point I’m trying to get across to people,” Harkins said.

Harkins said several adjustments were made to the cameras during the warning period, including testing to ensure the limits on the sensors and cameras were set correctly.

But no signal timing was changed, he said.

An independent company will review the timing of the amber lights, required to be between 4 and 4.5 seconds, every year.

Harkins rejected 352 incidents passed to him by Redflex, largely because vehicles stopped only a short distance over the stop bar, vehicles were moving out of the way of an emergency vehicle or because plates were unidentifiable.

“I witnessed several vehicles coming through there where the plates were covered with film or plastic or something, but that was not a problem reading those plates,” Harkins said of illegal plate covers.

Instead, some plates could not be viewed because another vehicle blocked them, or because the tags were temporary or could not be traced.

Harkins wanted to remind local drivers that Redflex does not issue citations.

“I personally review every incident. Redflex doesn’t just take a picture and send out a ticket … I am the only one who can authorize a citation; Redflex can not do that,” Harkins said.

Under the Town’s agreement with Redflex, the Town would receive $32 of each $50 citation if there are more than 151 violations per approach paid in a month.

The Town doesn’t have the numbers for specific approaches for only 30 days of that warning period; but if, for example, the cameras had caught 400 violations at Smith Road turning onto Kingston Pike, and 300 people had paid those citations, the Town would have made $9,600 from that approach.The Town was not paid for any warning citations during the warning period.


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