MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio (WJW)– A dramatic increase in drivers traveling at excessive speeds on Interstate 271 is prompting Mayfield Village police to propose the use of a photo enforcement program.
Commuters who use I-271 have noticed the dangerous high speed trend.
“I travel 271 on the way to work from Painesville and the speeds are ridiculous. People are blowing by at 90, 100 miles an hour, darting in and out of traffic,” Kerri Jones said.
Mayfield Village Police Chief Paul Matias said ODOT traffic monitors on I-271 revealed that the number of speeders going faster than 85 miles per hour doubled between pre-pandemic April 2019 and April 2021. In January of this year, village police stepped up conventional enforcement during rush hour, but it did not have the desired effect.
“The average speeding ticket our officers are writing on 271 right now is 89 miles an hour, and that’s in a 60 mile an hour zone. The officer on the side of the road with his lights on isn’t a deterrent or a message to slow down. It’s basically interpreted as ‘OK, they have somebody pulled over, so we can return to our normal speeds,’” Matias said.
To help curb the speeding problem, the chief is asking Mayfield Village Council to approve the use of hand-held lasers and cameras to enforce the speed limit. The program would be managed by a private company that would get a cut of the revenue.
Violators would receive a citation with notification of a fine in the mail, but it would be a civil violation and no points would be assessed.
The same company has a contract with the village of Newburgh Heights. Critics have called that enforcement program on Interstate 77 a “speed trap: and a “money grab.”
However, Matias said the goal in Mayfield Village is to improve driver safety.
“Our hope is to not write any of these tickets. That would be the ultimate goal here. Have people understand that when you come through Mayfield Village on 271, that if you’re driving, you know 80, 90, 100 miles an hour, there’s a very good likelihood that you’re going to receive a citation,” Matias said.
The program is sure to face opposition, but drivers who deal with aggressive speeders every day on the highway, support the effort.
“I’m fine with it and I hope they catch the people doing this. It’s actually unnerving, almost getting into wrecks every day on the way to work,” Jones said.
Matias said the details on the photo enforcement program are still being worked out, but it could be in place by sometime this fall.