Police department deploys new radar speed trailer

MADISON, Ala - The Madison Police Department has a new radar speed trailer to remind people to slow down. Police use these large devices to show people how fast they're traveling. They set it up on Portal Lane, a residential street that runs between two busy roads.

"You wonder why are they in such a hurry," Alan Smith said.

Smith has lived in this house on Portal Lane for nearly 30 years. "I watch cars going up and down this road, some go the speed limit, very high number well over, well over the speed limit."

Portal Lane is a 30 mile an hour zone right until this hill, then it drops down to 25. It's a speed limit change even some people who live in the area don't know about.

"I've only lived here for two weeks and I had no idea what the speed limit was. So, I'm thankful that they had the sign out here," Claire Cook said.

Tuesday was the first time Madison Police deployed their new speed radar trailer, which shows drivers how fast they're going.

"They work," Smith said.

If someone is speeding when they see the flashing lights, they slow down. The closer they get to the trailer, the closer they get to the speed limit.

Some drivers were clocked with speeds higher than 40 miles an hour. Even so, these drivers won't be receiving tickets.

"It's not something that we're using to write citations with. This really is a public service that we use," Captain John Stringer said.

That public service is to pump the brakes on dangerous driving.

"When you see that you're not just going to slow down, you're going to make sure that you're using your signals, that you're checking your blind spots, that you're paying attention to what's going on in the neighborhood," Stringer said.

Which Smith says is important.

"I'm glad something is being done about it because it really is only a matter of time before there is an accident," Smith said.

He hopes even when the trailer is eventually moved away, it will continue to be a driving force for safer travels along his street.

The police department had two radar speed trailers, but eventually, they both were decommissioned after being used for more than 10 years.

The radar speed trailer also collects data about people's speed. The police department can use that information to learn more about traffic flow and driving habits throughout the city.