By Danyelle Rodriguez
Radar speed signs are tools that Florida Gulf Coast University has been utilizing for the last 10 years. The objective of the device is to bring awareness to the driver of the speed that they are going, and what speed they should be going. So how has their presence affected faculty and students?
FGCU senior, Tyler Evans, who has been attending the university for the last four years, believes that the radar speed signs have definitely made the campus roadways safer.
“A lot of the time I feel like people zone out when they’re driving, especially when you’re heading to class or home,” said Evans. “You just have a million things going on in your head, so usually you aren’t thinking about how fast you’re going, but if you speed past those signs they start flashing and it’s a wake-up call to slow down, and it keeps you from getting pulled over.”
However, Officer Myles Kittleson, who has worked at the FGCU Police Department for the last five years, and also pushed for the grant that funded the newest radar speed sign two years ago, doesn’t feel the devices have directly impacted the distribution of speeding tickets.
“I only say that because there’s no real way to track it, because it (radar speed sign) doesn’t actually count how many times anyone goes above or below the speed limit…more or less it’s just a signaling device to let you know,” said Kittleson. “It’s kind of just a prevention thing for drivers.”
Radar speed signs work using the antenna and radar that are hooked up facing the roadway. When the vehicle begins to move towards the sign, it uses the radar transmitter as well as algorithm to determine the speed.
According to Kittleson, the speed sign is tested for its accuracy every month and also moved to different locations throughout campus monthly.
As stated in records from the UPD, 188 traffic tickets have been given from 2017 to Feb. 14, 2019. Tickets for violation of traffic laws, and violation of traffic control devices are included in this calculation. One hundred and fourteen of the 188 tickets are strictly speeding tickets.
“Officers have the discretion to write a lesser ticket because of how state statute is put out, you can write a speeding ticket, which has a higher point value and a higher fine value,” said Kittleson, “or you can write what we call a violation of traffic laws or violation of a traffic control device, so writing those tickets are a lesser fine, and less points…in turn they are trying to cut the person a break.”
The radar speed sign can be found in the median on FGCU Lake Parkway West, although its location changes frequently.