Since speed-monitoring cameras were erected at three area schools, incidents of speeding have decreased drastically there, Snellville Police Department officials told the Snellville City Council during Monday’s meeting.
The cameras, operated by independent company RedSpeed, have curbed speeding in front of South Gwinnett High, Snellville Middle and Britt Elementary schools and are working as they are intended, Snellville Police Chief Roy Whitehead told the City Council.
“Every day, more and more people are slowing down,” Whitehead said.
In April of 2020, the mayor and City Council approved the use of the cameras and they went into effect in February of this year, Snellville officials said.
The speed cameras record the highest number of daily violations on Highway 78 in front of South Gwinnett High School. In February of this year, the average number of daily speeding violations totaled 733 in front of the high school. In April, the last full month of camera use, the number of daily violations dropped to 296.
According to Snellville officials, the data also revealed:
♦ Highway 78 Eastbound has had a 56% reduction in violations since February.
♦ Highway 78 Westbound has had a 68% reduction in violation since February.
♦ Skyland Drive North has had an 86% reduction in violations since February.
♦ Skyland Drive South has had a 64% reduction in violations since February.
♦ Pate Road Eastbound has had a 73% reduction in violations since February.
♦ Pate Road Westbound has had an 80% reduction in violations since February.
Snellville followed the lead of the other cities in Gwinnett County that studied the need for public safety improvements to keep children attending schools safe, local officials said. Whitehead said the cameras are an additional protective measure similar to the cameras installed on school buses to stem the danger created by passing stopped buses in an effort to keep students safe.
Enforcement is authorized for speeding 11 mph over the posted speed limit beginning one hour before classes start and ending one hour after each school lets out. This will also be the case when summer school is in session for four weeks in June and July.
Warning signs indicating Photo Speed Enforcement is in effect are placed as required and authorized by the Georgia Department of Transportation before entering each school zone.
Yellow flashing lights on school zone signs are not required for enforcement, city officials said. These lights reduce speed when flashing at the middle and elementary schools to 25 mph, but the speed remains a constant 35 mph on Highway 78, 24 hours per day, seven days per week as it has been for decades.
Speed limits revert to the normal posted limit of 30 mph after the flashing lights ends and violations begin at 11 mph over those posted limits when not reduced. Citations are only issued according to the hours and attendance requirements authorized. The speed camera citations are only issued on days when students are physically present. Citations are not issued on digital learning days, holidays, teacher planning days and other absences.
Whitehead points out, if a motorist is stopped by an officer when the lights on the school zone sign are flashing, the fine is triple the civil fine and points are assessed against a license at a minimum of two points and up depending on speed. The civil fine for a first offense on the speed camera is $80 and no points are assessed.
“Again, no fines are assessed for vehicles traveling 10 mph or less over the posted speed limit,” Whitehead said. “Please keep the safety of our young people in mind as you traverse school zones.”