Technology helps TPD with traffic control

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 20, 2000

Staff Writer

April 19, 2000 10 PM

Evading a ticket for running a red light in Troy got a little tougher.

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The Troy Police Department has recently received funding to help them catch those who try to make it through a red light The new effort is designed to improve traffic safety and security of residents and visitors to the city.

Five intersections on U.S. Highway 231 now have enforcement lights that will give officers the ability to tell if a traffic light is red from almost any vantage point.

In other words, the days of an officer sitting in plain view and catching a driver running a red light are no longer.

A grant awarded to Southeast Alabama Emergency Medical Services Council in Dothan by Daimler-Chrysler allowed the purchase of new technology that should cut down on those darting through red lights.

The equipment will make it easier for officers to observe and stop offenders.

What will happen is a clear lightbulb will light up when a traffic signals turns red. Having that clear bulb will allow officers to know when a driver runs a red light even without seeing the light actually change.

With the greater number of vehicles coming through Troy, traffic safety has become a primary concern for law enforcement officers.

"In the last several years, we’ve seen a steady increase in traffic on (U.S. Highway 231)," Troy Police Chief Anthony Everage said.

In 1998, there were 789 traffic accidents involving 1,493 vehicles reported in Troy. Seven people were killed and 82 were injured in those accidents.

For those reasons, the TPD has stepped up its efforts.

"We have worked more traffic and radar in the last two and a half years," Everage said.

"We didn’t have this problem 10 years ago," Everage said. "We can tell there’s been a substantial increase."

Approximately eight percent of those accidents occurred at the five targeted intersections, which are: U.S. 231 at Pike County Road 1 (Murphree Street), U.S. 231 at County Road 21 (South Three Notch Street), U.S. 231 at Highway 87/167 (Brundidge Street), U.S. 231 at George Wallace Drive and U.S. 231 at Franklin Drive.

The Troy Police Department is enforcing the traffic laws to prevent traffic accidents and save lives.

"We’re really excited Troy wanted to work on it with us," said Denise Smith, executive director of the Southeast Alabama Emergency Medical Services.

Everage is just as pleased because this particular program was "exactly what we were looking for," especially with summer vacations on the horizon and people traveling through the area heading the beach.

Troy is only one of three cities which have implemented the program with the help of SEAEMS. Dothan and Auburn are the other sites. SEAEMS provides emergency medical services to an 18-county area.

"Prevention is a big thing we like to work on," Smith said of SEAEMS’s participation in the nationwide grassroots effort to prevent accidents.

And, if it takes handing out a ticket to do that, officers will. Anyone getting a ticket for running a red light will have to pay a $119 fine, according to Troy Municipal Court.

Grant money was also awarded to help pay some overtime for officers to target these intersections where the enforcement lights have been installed.