Speeders on Arcado Road in Lilburn have less than 30 days to slow down or get ticketed.
On Thursday, Jan. 23, the Lilburn Police Department began a 30-day warning period to help drivers adjust to a new program set around the school zone of Arcado Elementary School.
The program is known as Automated Enforcement of School Zones. It was instituted after a nationwide spike in pedestrian fatalities over the past decade in which Georgia became one of the deadliest states for pedestrians.
In July 2019, the Lilburn City Council approved an agreement with RedSpeed USA to install school zone cameras. This came after House Bill 978 passed in 2018, which allowed for automated enforcement in school zones.
“Once the HB was passed into law we decided to conduct our own speed studies at all seven schools inside our city,” Lilburn Police Chief Bruce Hedley said. “All studies showed we had a speeding problem, but we decided on Arcado and Trickum because of the high volume of pedestrian traffic, especially during drop off and pick up times. Safety is a priority and the goal is that the program will encourage drivers to slow down and obey the speed limit.”
During the 30-day period, drivers will be mailed warning notices. The program will target the speeders that exceed more than 15 mph over the speed limit in school zones. Hedley said the idea is to target the super speeders, though the law allows motorists traveling 11 mph or over to be cited.
“The warning is a written notice showing a picture of the speeding vehicle as well as a zoom-in photo of the license place,” Hedley said. “The warning further cites the O.C.G.A. law 40-14-18 and the fine amounts, depending on first or subsequent offenses. The warning goes on to cite statistics from (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and information concerning HB 978.”
The cameras will operate on school days, beginning one hour before school and ending one hour after school. Normal school hours are 8:15 a.m.-2:45 p.m. All citations will be reviewed by an officer before they are approved and issued.
Violations will cost $75 for the first offense and $125 for any subsequent offenses. However, citations issued will count as a civil fine so no points will be reported to the Department of Driver Services and the driver’s insurance company will not be notified.
“Officers will continue to regularly patrol all schools in our city,” Hedley said. “We have received numerous complaints of other non-speeding violations such as improper left turns and improper U-turns – all of those violations will also be enforced.”
New signage alerting drivers of the increased enforcement was also installed in late December 2019. Hedley said two signs were posted on both ends of the school zone which state “SCHOOL PHOTO ENFORCED SPEED.”
According to the city of Lilburn, the new program will be fully operational and real citations will be issued starting Feb. 13. All of the revenue received from this initiative must be used for public safety.
Cameras will also be installed at Trickum Middle School on Killian Hill Road, but Hedley said there’s no exact date for when the project will be completed. They are currently working with several contractors.
Lilburn is one of a handful of Gwinnett cities eying the installation of automatic detection cameras in school zones. At Thursday evening’s Board of Education meeting, members approved Permanent Utility Easements to install speed-detecting cameras at Chattahoochee Elementary School and Coleman Middle School in Duluth.
The city of Norcross also plans to install cameras in the school zones at Beaver Ridge Elementary School, Baldwin Elementary School, Norcross Elementary School and Summerour Middle School. During a special called meeting on Oct. 21, Norcross Mayor Craig Newton and the City Council approved a contract with RedSpeed to monitor and enforce school zone speed within the city limits of Norcross.
Sgt. Eric Butynski with the Norcross Police Department said the city had not set an exact date to deploy those cameras, but it could be as early as one month away. The department met with RedSpeed on Thursday to learn the ins and outs of the new system.
Butynski said Norcross also plans to exercise a warning period. That’s all the grace speeders will get.
“For 30 days after we go live, we’ll be issuing warnings by mail in the same manner as citations,” Butynski said.