Motorists who drive I-85 between Montgomery and Shorter, Ala., have voiced concerns to WSFA about cameras and a flashing green light a half mile south of exit 22 that they suspect are issuing speeding tickets. But when Montgomery’s WSFA looked into the matter, it found that the cameras aren’t paying attention to passenger vehicles. It’s commercial vehicles that they are monitoring.
Officials with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) told WSFA that the flashing green light is part of a currently unannounced system that weighs commercial vehicles as they pass through and simultaneously searches databases to determine whether the vehicle has an infraction.
The system, the first to be implemented in a high-speed area, is the result of a partnership between ALEA and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT). The state installed the new system to increase law enforcement efficiency while saving money.
“It takes a picture of their DOT number and the license plate and that’s where the light comes from and it researches the data base and puts that information in a database,” Randy Braden, ALDOT’s Assistant State Maintenance Engineer, told WSFA.
If the system finds a violation, it issues an alert, giving law enforcement a heads up.
So instead of driving around looking for commercial carriers that may be in violation of the law, a law enforcement officer can sit uproad of the system and be alerted when an offending vehicle is coming his or her way.
The system can also save the State millions of dollars in construction costs. A new weigh station costs about $10 million-$15 million, but the high-speed scale and scanner costs about $300,000 to build.
“We’re very, very shorthanded the most I’ve ever seen in my 19-year career so efficiency is key,” ALEA Sgt. Steve Jarrett told WSFA.
State officials told WSFA that some 36,000 vehicles travel through that particular stretch of interstate every year, and about a quarter of those are commercial vehicles.
Once the cameras are certified, the State will put up signs explaining their purpose, WSFA reported.
Source: WSFA Montgomery