Council to consider use of speed detection cameras in school zones —
An informational item on the Dec. 5 agenda of the Fayetteville City Council considered the possible installation of cameras by Blue Line Solutions, LLC to detect speeders in school zones in the city traveling more than 10 miles over the limit beginning one hour before classes begin and concluding one hour after classes end.
Compliant with state law, the matter will be forwarded to the Fayette County Board of Education for consideration and will return to the council at a later date for a potential vote. The council at that time will also be provided with a map showing the specific locations where the cameras would be located.
House Bill 978 passed and became effective in July 2018 (O.C.G.A 40-14-18). The statute notes that “The speed limit within any school zone as provided for in Code Section 40-14-8 and marked pursuant to Code Section 40-14-6 (dealing with the size and placement of warning signs) may be enforced by using photographically recorded images for violations which occurred only on a school day during the time in which instructional classes are taking place and one hour before such classes are scheduled to begin and for one hour after such classes have concluded when such violations are in excess of ten miles per hour over the speed limit, according to law.justia.com.
Making the case for using the cameras, Deputy Chief Robert Mask in recent letter said, “With increasing residential areas growing close to schools, pedestrian traffic has increased. By using this tool, it will help law enforcement reduce the number of traffic-related accidents, injuries, fatalities and crime. The photo speed enforcement program will assist the police department with manpower issues during daily operations. It is the department’s goal to provide a safe environment for the children, citizens and motorists within these areas.”
Mask noted that Blue Line Solutions will provide the department with a no-cost solution to provide a safer and more efficient form of traffic enforcement within the school zones associated within the city limits of Fayetteville.
School zones in Fayetteville to be considered include the Lafayette Education Center on Lafayette Avenue, Fayetteville Elementary School on Hood Avenue, the former Fayette Middle School on Grady Avenue and Cleveland Elementary School and Bennett’s Middle School on Lester Road.
A speed study conducted at the Lester Road schools from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. during Sept. 9-13, in a 35 mile-per-hour speed zone, showed 14,707 vehicles passing through the area, with 5,178 of those vehicles traveling more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.
Mask said if approved by the council and before being activated, the public will be provided information from the department by a press release and given a 30-day warning period before actual enforcement is taken place.
Mask said proper signage is posted visible to a driver’s eye as vehicles approach from either direction of travel before entering into the school zone, reiterating that violations will only be monitored during school zone hours.
Mask said the equipment will be provided and constructed by Blue Line Solutions in the school zones with no cost to the police department or anyone else. The equipment used will be a proper signage alerting drivers that they are entering a school zone with reduction in speed. The post will be housing a LIDAR (laser) to obtain the correct speed of the passing vehicles and followed by a camera that will take several photographs of the vehicle, one having a red box indicating where the (LIDAR) laser was activated on the vehicle. The second photograph will contain the vehicles registration (TAG) number.
Once the violation/image has been captured, it is sent via wireless to BLS located in Chattanooga, Tenn., for the first review. Once a bundle has been reviewed, these violations will be sent to the police department for review a second time. A certified law enforcement officer with the police department will review the violations/images to verify that the vehicle registration (TAG) coincides with the vehicle make and model. After this review, the violations/images are sent back to BLS with an accurate verification. BLS will then mail a civil citation to the vehicle’s registered owner. Ga. law established the fine for these violations at $75 plus a processing fee of up to $25 for the first violation and $125 for a second violation. If a driver contests the violation, the Fayetteville Municipal Court will have a civil court date set aside once a month to hear these civil cases, Mask said.
CORRECTION: The headline was corrected from “red light cameras” to “school zone speeding cameras” to reflect the fact that in this proposal no red lights are involved.