One South Dakota study has shown that the presence of the highway patrol can reduce traffic speeds in work zones, but unless officers actually issue citations, the effect of presence alone is temporary. Sufficient numbers of officers are not available for continuous enforcement.
Research project SD97-12 evaluated a manned video/Lidar system to detect speeders with the intention of issuing citations through the mail. The SDDOT attempted to pass legislation allowing the issuance of speeding citations through the mail. However, it did not pass, and the use of video/lidar systems was not allowed in the enforcement of regulatory speed limits in work zones. Legislators were unwilling to support issuing citations based on video or photos taken of a speeding vehicle.
Traditional speed control methods without consequences offer short-term effects, and speeds gradually increase as motorists become accustomed to the devices. The panel feels that by demonstrating that speeding problems exist in certain school zones, and that speed reduction methods such as speed monitoring displays and decoy cars are only temporary solutions, legislators will be more willing to allow the use of automated enforcement technologies.
This research would collect data to determine whether speeding problems exist in school zones, and whether automated speed enforcement devices are capable of deterring speeders in school zones. Automated equipment installed in school zones would collect information about motorists speeding through school zones, giving researchers an idea of how many citations would have been issued if legislation allowed it.