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Will automated speed cameras on I-5 threaten traffic flow?

When Dori got wind of an automated speed camera being set up along I-5 in the Centralia area, he had visions of hundreds and hundreds of cars getting tickets for traveling just above the speed limit, but with the flow of traffic. (AP Photo)

When Dori got wind of an automated speed camera being set up along I-5 in the Centralia area, he had visions of hundreds and hundreds of cars getting tickets for traveling just above the speed limit, but with the flow of traffic.

"I think most of us on the freeway, especially on that drive through that Centralia, Chehalis area, if we're going between Seattle and Portland, I think most of us go with the flow of traffic. If the flow of traffic happens to be 72 miles an hour through that zone, does every car get a ticket?" Dori asked the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The automated speed enforcement cameras will be set up in a work zone on I-5 in Lewis County. The cam will be installed on a silver Ford Escape to be parked on either the northbound or southbound side of the freeway.

Alice Fiman with the WSDOT told Dori the automated system will issue tickets to drivers traveling somewhere around 11 miles an hour over the speed limit.

Fiman said American Traffic Systems is conducting the work, which worries Dori even more.

"I think American Traffic Systems is a sleazy, sleazy company," said Dori. "When they had their executives posing as average citizens going into newspaper comments and advocating for red light cameras, that was all I needed to know about this company."

Fiman assured Dori this project is not about profit for WSDOT, and they will be getting zero revenue from the program.

"It actually costs us money. All of the revenue goes to the local municipality where the tickets are processed and a portion of it does go to the Washington State Patrol because we have state patrol troopers that look at the photo that's taken [...] and they match that with the database at the Department of Licensing, so we make sure the right person is getting the information."

Fiman said the whole project is about getting drivers to slow down to increase safety for those in the work zone.

"There are people out there, people that could be your friends, neighbors, family members working in an active work zone feet from the highway," said Fiman. "Through those work zones, this narrowly defined area, we just want people to slow down."

Fiman also said drivers cruising with the flow of traffic will not get a ticket.

"We're actively working with the contractor and if we saw that phenomenon happening, we would reevaluate how we are gathering our data."

Fiman added that it may be another reason to reduce the speed limit.

Dori still isn't sold on the plan.

"I still do not like these automate red light, school zone, and now freeway speeding cams."

The Dori Monson Show on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

Listen to Dori Monson every weekday at 12noon on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. Seattle's News, Seattle's Talk.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM

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About the Author


Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.

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