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Slowing Speeders Down

Date: December 1, 2008
Phone: 269-471-3321

The newest member of the Department of Public Safety team won’t ask you to smile for the camera; it will simply snap a picture as you are speeding by. Meet SpeedSentry: a programmable radar detector that will warn you if you are speeding and take a picture of your license plate if you don’t slow down.

“We want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to at least hear about it prior to putting it to use,” says Dale Hodges, director of the Department of Public Safety. “But this will certainly be a shock to folks when they start realizing how fast they actually drive on campus.”

SpeedSentry is a programmable radar speed display designed to calm traffic. The Andrews University Public Safety Committee voted and approved use of SpeedSentry to enhance safety on this residential campus. The device is programmed to trigger a flashing warning if a driver is exceeding the posted speed limit. If the driver fails to slow down and continues to exceed the speed limit, SpeedSentry will take a picture of the license plate while also recording the date, time, location and speed of the violation.

“We can then download the data along with the picture of the violator’s license plates. The license plate number will be run through our system and a citation will be automatically issued,” says Hodges. “It doesn’t matter if you are the president, faculty, staff or a student: if you exceed the speed limit and trigger SpeedSentry, you will be ticketed. There is no prejudice or bias involved. SpeedSentry isn’t capable of picking on a specific person. All it does is record the data and report the facts.”

Hodges says a few areas where speeding is a regular problem include Garland Avenue in front of the University schools, JN Andrews Boulevard and West Campus Circle Drive near the athletic fields and behind Meier Hall. “Basically, any roadway that is an extended straight line is prone to speeders,” says Hodges.

The standard speed limit on campus is 25 mph with three exceptions:
1. The driveway for Ruth Murdoch Elementary School is 5 mph.
2. International Court around the graduate and family housing is 15 mph.
3. University Boulevard entering the Lamson Hall/Campus Center parking lot area is
15 mph.

SpeedSentry is equipped with a solar panel and a rechargeable battery pack so it can sustain long periods of speed monitoring. “We will have an officer assigned to regularly monitor the unit, particularly during night hours, to prevent possible vandalism,” says Hodges.

During a trial period, the data showed most violations were on Sabbath. Hodges says, “I think it’s partly due to, on the weekends, a higher percentage of people using the campus for worship and social activities. In comparison, during normal business hours, everyone is parked and at work or attending classes.”

-Written by Keri Suarez, media relations specialist, Office of Integrated Marketing & Communication

Andrews University is a Seventh-day Adventist institution of higher education
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Berrien Springs, Michigan 49104