SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Cameras will be watching your driving habits more closely in Suffolk.
The city has introduced automated traffic enforcement cameras in what it says is an effort to improve safety and increase protections to students and drivers.
The rollout of the cameras is already underway, it said, and includes red-light photo enforcement cameras, school zone speed enforcement cameras, school bus stop-arm enforcement cameras and work zone speed enforcement cameras.
“We want to make sure our students are safe,” Major Cassandra Garvin, who is in charge of operations at the Suffolk Police Department.
The city has collaborated with Altumint to install and maintain the technology, and the Suffolk Police Department will be reviewing all violations to determine whether a citation and fine will be issued.
Nine intersections across the city will get red-light enforcement cameras, and traffic enforcement signage will be visible to drivers. A 30-day warning period will be in effect before cameras go live later this spring.
During the warning period, the city said violators would get a cautionary letter mailed to them, and after the warning period, violators would receive a $50 fine.
The school zone speed enforcement cameras and school bus stop-arm enforcement cameras are expected to go live for the start of the 2024 school year. The city said drivers speeding in a school zone during designated school hours, or illegally passing a school bus may get a citation and fine.
The cameras attached to the side of school buses will monitor traffic and make sure everyone stops when the bus opens its doors.
“This helps keep people safe in place we can’t necessarily be,” Garvin said.
Those cameras are currently being installed, and drivers can expect a warning letter if they are caught before they go live this fall. Violators speeding in a school zone will get a $100 fine, and violators passing a school bus will get a $250 fine.
“Keeping our students, staff, and community safe is the top priority of Suffolk Public Schools,” said Superintendent Dr. John B. Gordon III in a statement. “This added layer of technology will serve as an additional reminder to all motorists to slow down while traveling through a school zone and to stop for the school bus.”
Work zone speed enforcement cameras are expected to be put into place later this month and will be moved throughout work zones in the city. Work zone speeding violators will get a $100 fine.
“We did want to make sure that we pay special attention to our work zones. Where we have construction workers, city workers actively engaged in activities on the side of the road,” Major Garvin said.
Different mobile work zone enforcement cameras will be stationed in major construction projects, including the Route 58 widening project.
Busy intersections like Bridge Road and Shoulders Hill Road in North Suffolk will have red light cameras.
“Some of these technological improvements can help us increase our influence around the city,” Garvin said. “We don’t have the opportunity to have a police officer in every intersection or in every school zone.”
They’ll study different areas and determine which intersection needs it most.
“We want to make sure we are deploying these red-light cameras where they will affect the most drivers,” she said.
Violation notices will be mailed in an official city envelope, which will have the offense information, including date and location, as well as an internet link to view a video of the violation. Violators will have 30 days to pay the fine or appeal the citation in court.
“We are excited to deploy this technology in our city as an effort to continue to keep our citizens and visitors safe,” said Suffolk Police Chief Al Chandler. “Properly enforcing speeding and traffic safety is of significant importance for the Suffolk Police Department and using tools like this will allow us to catch real-time offenders in hopes that they slow down. These cameras can literally save lives.”
Said Garvin: “I would love to see a dramatic increase of our traffic behavior in Suffolk.”