Ffx FSS provided the following oral comments the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors during a 12/6/2022 public hearing in support of a proposed ordinance to allow the Fairfax County Police Department to conduct a speed camera pilot program in 2023, and offered several additional recommendations. We look forward to the implementation of the pilot program, and its expansion to throughout the county.
Fairfax Families for Safe Streets strongly supports the proposed ordinance. We have advocated for the use of automated speed enforcement throughout the region for many years and we are happy to see it coming to Fairfax County. ASE is a proven and effective tool in reducing vehicle speeds – and speed is the primary factor in determining whether or not a vulnerable road user survives or does not survive a crash with the driver of a vehicle. Speed kills.
However, the ordinance’s provision to issue speeding citations only at speeds greater than 10mph over the limit will establish an effective speed limit of 35 mph around our schools. This is not sufficiently protective of the county’s school children. We understand there is an existing legislative barrier to issuing citations for speeding below 10 mph over the posted speed limit. Until that barrier is removed, Ffx FSS strongly supports establishment of 15 mph speed limits within school zones – doing so would bring the county into closer alignment with our neighbors in DC, Arlington, and Alexandria which have already implemented 15 or 20 mph speed limits in school zones. We look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors to determine how best to take advantage of recent legislative authority granted to localities for the reduction of speed limits below 25 mph, but not less than 15 mph, on roads not owned by the county. We urge the Board of Supervisors to seek clarification on this authority in its current legislative priorities and look forward to hearing what comes of those efforts.
Additionally, Ffx FSS supports more substantive civil penalties for drivers caught speeding. We do not believe that a $50 civil penalty reflects the seriousness of a ‘speeding in a school zone’ citation for most of the County’s residents, but we do acknowledge the importance of ensuring an equitable implementation of this new program.
Our organization will continue to advocate both in Richmond and here with the Board of Supervisors for the expansion of photo speed enforcement authorization into residential neighborhoods and business districts, subject to jurisdictional discretion. The dangers of speeding are not limited to schools and construction zones. And we will continue to advocate for changes to the built environment and current roadway designs that will prioritize the movement of people over vehicles and yield safer streets for all road users.
This ordinance is an important step forward, but we look forward to working with you towards that larger goal.