Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Residential Speeding Report

One of the most common complaints coming before the Kaneohe Neighborhood Board involves speeding in residential neighborhoods. This problem is not unique to Kaneohe. A Google search will reveal a national problem with police departments all over the country asking citizen volunteers for help in resolving the problem.

There are common threads:

Police Departments do not have enough personnel to address the problem.
Police call on citizens for help
Citizen programs vary but in general involving gathering data and providing education and publicity.

The following are some examples:

Vernon Hills, Illinois: One of the most frequent requests to the police is the need to address speeding along residential streets. The Citizen Speed Control Program is one of the programs available to help the police attend to these community concerns.

In the program, citizens use police radar units (similar to the one pictured here) to record the speeds of vehicles. The information, including day, time, and speed is logged and returned to the police department. The information is examined to determine if there is a speeding problem, and when it is most prevalent. If the Traffic Unit determines from the data that there is a speeding problem, aggressive enforcement can be directed.

But the program does not stop there. Letters are also sent to the registered owners of vehicles that are determined to have been driving at an excessive speed. The letter is entirely informative and educational in nature, and encourages the owner's cooperation in speed reduction. It does not constitute a notice of violation, go on a driving record or impose a fine.
Many communities are arresting and incarcerating the worst offenders. As one method for changing public attitudes toward speeding, some police agencies have amended their arrest policies and placed serious offenders (those driving much higher than the speed limit) in custody rather than merely releasing them with a citation. The intent is to convey a strong message that driving well over the speed limit is a seriously dangerous offense and not a harmless technical infraction. This response may require special legislation and policies.

The Glendale, Ariz., Police Department (1998) used this response as part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce speeding. The police department's custodial arrest policy was specifically authorized under state law.

Having citizen volunteers monitor speeding. Some police agencies have recruited and trained citizen volunteers to operate speed detection devices in residential areas. The volunteers record the vehicle speeds and license plate numbers and turn them over to the police. Police then send official warning letters to the registered vehicle owners. Other police agencies, such as the Madison, Wis., Police Department, have had citizens join police officers on traffic stops to explain the community's concerns about speeding to drivers.

The following document from the National Highway Safety Agency can be found at It is a comprehensive guideline, prepared to assist communities to set up a police - citizen municipal speed enforcement program. Oahu has implement a Neighborhood Watch Program which could be adapted to implement the recommended program.

Federal Department of Transportation
Guidelines for Developing a Municipal
Speed Enforcement Program


The purpose of this document is to provide step-by-step guidance to both law enforcement and civilian personnel to assist with the development of traffic safety program support committees and the implementation of municipal speed enforcement and other special traffic safety programs.

Law enforcement agencies from across the United States are attempting to improve traffic safety in their jurisdictions, by reducing the incidence of speeding and driving while impaired (DWI), and increasing compliance with safety restraint laws and other motor vehicle codes. Although important, the effects of an enforcement program will be limited unless public awareness of the enforcement can be elevated. In particular, a special general deterrence effect can result when public awareness of an enforcement effort is elevated by an effective publicity campaign. This report provide suggestions that can be followed to design and implement a traffic safety program composed of both enforcement and public information and education about the special enforcement. See the entire report at


Citizen Assisted Radar Enforcement Program - Roselle, Illinois
One of the most frequent requests or complaints made to the Roselle Police Department is for speed enforcement and speeding autos. The Citizen Assisted Radar Enforcement Program (C.A.R.E) has been established to meet the needs of our community members.

The Citizen Assisted Radar Enforcement Program contributes to public awareness by involving the public in recording vehicle speeds to determine if a speeding problem exists. Once this is done, the Police Department can focus its resources to address the problem. The goal of the program is to engage members of the community in addressing issues involving speeding autos in their neighborhoods.

The program requires that the volunteers monitor vehicle speeds using a department issued radar unit. The vehicle speed and time are written on a log sheet. In the event a violation is observed, the volunteer will attempt to document the vehicles description and license plat number. Letters will be sent to the registered owners advising them of the observed violation.

The Citizen Assisted Radar Enforcement Program educates drivers and residents about the dangers of speeding vehicles. It also encourages safe driving when traveling on neighborhood streets

"Cars keep going past my house at 100 mph."

The complaint is a familiar one. In fact, Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 reports speeding in residential neighborhoods represents the single greatest complaint to police departments — and city council representatives — throughout the United States.

Often what follows the complaint is a request that an officer catch the speeders on radar and issue speeding tickets. While complainants might think this is a quick fix, they need to realize it's not always feasible, especially in neighborhoods with little traffic.

While an agency can't send a unit out to run radar on every neighborhood street, the complaint can't (or shouldn't) be ignored. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Speed Campaign Toolkit, nationally in 2005, 86 percent of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occurred on non-Interstate roadways — where the posted speed limits were 55 mph or lower.

Understanding the seriousness of the speeding problem, law enforcement agencies throughout the nation are enlisting the help of volunteers to run radar.
A community policing tool

"A citizen radar program is an excellent community-oriented policing tool to establish collaboration between the police and the residents to solve a neighborhood quality-of-life problem," says Chief James Kruger Jr. of the Roselle Police Department in Illinois.

The entire article can be seen at:$45246

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