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MailTribune.com
  • The fastest way to a ticket in Medford

    Does it feel as you're speeding though life too fast for your own good? Then you know how the police feel when they notice you
  • If you're a lead-foot driver, there are a few stretches of road in Medford you may want to avoid.
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    • It can cost you
      Speeding violations in Oregon and their penalties are defined in terms of class:
      • Class D violation: 1 to 10 mph over the limit, $110 fine
      • Class C violation: 11 to 20 mph over the...
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      It can cost you
      Speeding violations in Oregon and their penalties are defined in terms of class:

      • Class D violation: 1 to 10 mph over the limit, $110 fine
      • Class C violation: 11 to 20 mph over the limit, $160 fine
      • Class B violation: 21 to 30 mph over the limit, $260 fine
      • Class A violation: 31 mph over the limit and above, $435 fine
      • High speed violation: Driving over 100 mph is its own violation carrying a $1,150 fine and mandatory driver license suspension of 30 to 90 days.
  • If you're a lead-foot driver, there are a few stretches of road in Medford you may want to avoid.
    Highland Drive, McAndrews Road, Crater Lake Avenue and Highway 62 are hot spots for speeders — and for speeding tickets.
    "There are areas that are more prone to speeding than others," said Lt. Mike Budreau of the Medford Police Department.
    The Medford pavement most prone to speeding — or at least speeding tickets — during 2013 was Highland Drive, where 439 drivers earned citations, all but 14 snared by a police department photo-enforcement speed van.
    The van uses radar to snag offenders, takes their photos and mails the image to them, along with a speeding ticket.
    Near the intersection of Crater Lake Avenue and Temple Drive — south of Delta Waters Road — 189 drivers were ticketed in 2013 for speeding by a photo-enforcement van, making it the second highest ticket-producing location for the vans last year.
    East McAndrews Road led the way for tickets delivered on the scene by an officer in a patrol car, with 134 speeding citations handed out. Another 23 were issued on West McAndrews Road, records show, and 27 speeding tickets were given to motorists on McAndrews Road, with the east or west designation missing.
    Crater Lake Highway — state Highway 62 — came in second for officer-delivered tickets, with 61 speed violation citations issued by Medford police on patrol, while 49 speeders were nabbed on North Pacific Highway near Central Point and another 41 on North Riverside Avenue, records show.
    The speed-enforcement vans set up in 109 locations in 2013 and produced more than 30 tickets in a dozen locations. The vans accounted for more than 60 percent of the speeding tickets handed out by the Medford department.
    The most productive spot by far was on Highland Drive, about 200 yards north of its roundabout intersection with Siskiyou Boulevard. Traffic on Highland has increased in recent years following the completion of a new Interstate 5 interchange that leads directly to Highland. The traffic van has set up there regularly to remind former freeway drivers they have moved into a residential area.
    In addition to its pair of photo-enforcement vans, Medford police have four officers dedicated to traffic enforcement, Budreau said, but any of the department's 105 sworn officers on duty can write citations for traffic violations.
    "There are four (officers) dedicated just to traffic enforcement and traffic accident investigations ... . While the others can do radar and speed enforcement, many of them don't have time because they are going on other calls," Budreau said.
    In 2013, between the vans and officers, the Medford Police Department doled out 2,337 speed violation citations to motorists, records show.
    The majority of the citations — more than 1,400 — were served to offenders through the mail after having their pictures snapped and speeds recorded by one of two photo-enforcement vans, records show.
    Medford police do give motorists some leeway for traveling faster than established speed limits, Budreau said, but he wouldn't say how much.
    "We do allow for a rather generous fluctuation of speed. We're not ticketing people for going 5 miles per hour over," he said. "The majority of the citations that we write are for speeds (at least) 10 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. ... We are looking for clear-cut violations."
    When it comes to nabbing speeders with a photo-enforcement van, a threshold speed limit is calculated into a computer on board the van, a warning sign is posted more than 300 feet up road and the camera captures images of speeders.
    After photos of drivers are checked for clarity, Medford police issue a citation in the mail to the owner of the vehicle. The owner must then pay a fine or contest the ticket in court.
    Redflex, a private company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., contracts with the city to generate hard copies of the driver photos.
    Redflex also operates the red-light cameras at major intersections in Medford. If the driver's face or the car's license plate is not clearly identified in the photos, pictures are discarded and a citation is not issued.
    In 2013, Medford's pair of photo-enforcement vans accounted for 1,447 speeding citations. They produced 1,660 tickets in 2012 and 1,671 in 2011.
    Medford police on patrol issued 890 speeding tickets in 2013, 959 in 2012 and 904 in 2011, records show.
    Budreau said the department doesn't have a quota for how many tickets to write speeders each year.
    "In the last 20 years we haven't had any type of a ticket quota for officers to produce," Budreau said. "Those four traffic officers of course are expected to produce some type of numbers in terms of traffic enforcement, but there is no set number. ... The reason to give a citation should be based on the behavior of the driver, nothing else, it shouldn't be based on any outside pressure."
    In comparison with Medford's 2,337 speeding tickets, police in Springfield, with a smaller population of about 60,000, issued 1,384 speeding violations in 2013, said Mike Harman, the services bureau manager of the Springfield Police Department.
    Medford's population is listed as 76,460 by the U.S. Census Bureau.
    In Bend, with a population of about 79,000, the police department issued 2,578 speeding violation citations in 2013, police records show.
    Neither the Bend nor the Springfield police departments operates photo-enforcement vans.
    Cory Crebbin, Medford's public works department director, thinks Medford police likely could write far more speeding tickets if they chose to do so.
    "I think they are really good, actually, but I think the police department could put on a whole bunch more officers out and write a whole bunch more speeding tickets," he said. "I think police are pretty prudent about it, though."
    Speed limits in Medford are set at state recommendations determined by the Oregon Department of Transportation's Traffic-Roadway Section.
    Crebbin said residents can submit a request for a speed limit change to Medford's Traffic Coordinating Committee. If the committee deems the request appropriate it would be forwarded to the Oregon Department of Transportation's Speed Zone Review Panel for consideration.
    A few times each year, the Medford committee forwards citizen requests on to the state panel, he said.
    In the absence of posted speed limits, Oregon state law requires motorists to travel 15 mph in alleys and on narrow residential streets, 20 mph in business districts and school zones, 25 mph through residential districts and public parks, 55 mph on open and rural highways and 65 mph on interstate highways, excluding freight trucks.
    Generally, those are the speed limits motorists will find around Medford, Crebbin said.
    In terms of speed enforcement, Oregon is a "basic rule" state, Budreau said, but that doesn't mean motorists can drive as fast as they deem appropriate. Oregon law also says the basic rule is established by speed limit signs under normal conditions.
    The basic rule more often comes into play when a motorist is traveling too fast in hazardous conditions, such as icy roads, whether they are above, at or below the posted speed.
    Fewer than 1 percent of the speeding violation citations written by Medford police in 2013 cited the basic speed rule, records show.
    Budreau says police take speeding seriously, but recognize there are many more speeders than there are speeding tickets handed out.
    "Any time you have a speeding vehicle you have a higher probability of a traffic accident," Budreau said. "Speeding vehicles is the number one complaint that we get from citizens, and it has been for years, but it's actually a rather small part of what we do as an agency. ... It's hard for us to be everywhere all the time to catch these speeding vehicles."
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
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