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Electronic Speed Limit Signs Inform Benwood Drivers

Photo by Joselyn King Benwood Police Chief Frank Longwell, left, and Police Corp. Donald Longstreth show one of the new electronic speed limit signs purchased by the city.

BENWOOD — Police hope the recent purchase of two electronic speed limit signs cuts down on fast driving through Benwood — and keeps officers from having to write tickets.

Benwood has purchased two of the electronic signs at a cost of $5,799 for both from the Elan City company in Queens, New York.

Drivers along McMechen Street already have noticed the sign placed there on a trailer that reports their speed and reads “thank you” if they are traveling below the speed limit.

If they are speeding, the sign tells them to “slow down.”

The idea is the messaging should be enough to remind the public to drive safely, said Police Chief Frank Longwell.

“Our goal is to have residents complying with the speed limits established by law,” he said. “We would rather not write tickets.

“Our mission is not to write tickets, and the signs should help.

Speeding on McMechen Street has long been a problem, and cars traveling there have been slowing down, according to Police Capt. Brian Handzus.

“The residents are happy,” he said.

Police are not yet certain where to place the second sign.

A similar third sign has been in operation near the former Union School building, but it has lesser technology than the new signs.

The signs do not have cameras on them, but they do log information. Data recorded includes how many cars travel a street, what the average speed is and what time of day is traffic most likely to speed, according to Longwell and Handzus.

What they do not record is the number of drivers with their hands on their cellphones as they drive.

“Those people (who are texting) are all over the road when they’re fiddling with their phone,” Longwell said. “It can be a real problem for people when they are driving.

“We urge the public to use their phones hands free. I just wish the fine were more expensive.”

The fine for texting while driving is $100, he said.

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