MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis is considering a new plan to crack down on speeding drivers by installing speed cameras. City leaders say the plan is all about safety, but drivers disagree.
The idea has been kicked around for years, but if the mayor gets his way, speed cameras will be up and running in a matter of months and speeders will think twice about putting the pedal to the metal.
“I think the issue that's been raised most frequently would be in the school zones with people coming through excessively fast and putting kids at risk,” said Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little.
That's where he would install speed cameras, including busy streets like Poplar Avenue. The cameras could cost around $700,000 but they could rake in more than a million.
Councilman Edmund Ford Jr. supports the plan.
“Anything that we do bring to the table, let's make sure we put it in the right context to where we're trying to lower the crime element, we're trying to correct wrong doing and it's not a measure just to try to find revenue for the city,” Ford said.
“They're going to get money. Which is, I understand. We need money,” said Cortney Richardson, who was at the Criminal Justice Center for that very reason. A ticket for speeding and a tail light cost him "a lot," he said.
Richardson is not convinced safety is the driving force of the speed camera idea. He believes it's for money.
“We need to do something about killing. Are our killing rates, our murder rates higher than our traffic deaths, traffic death rates? If so then I think we need to do something. But I think we need to probably prioritize,” Richardson said.
But George Little says adding speed cameras will free up police to focus on more pressing matters while making the roads safer.
“Just having the presence will force most folks to think twice in these areas,” Little said.
The speed camera plan will likely go before city council in early September. If they approve it, cameras could be installed in January 2013.