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What you need to know about school zones and speed cameras

Some areas have flashing lights, some just have signs
Some areas have flashing lights, some just have signs(WALB)
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 7:27 AM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - As many schools are starting their new year, it’s important to remember things that could save a life.

An officer with the Albany Police Department (APD) said in many cases children walk to school or get onto a bus when there isn’t much light out. Having something like a safety vest or something reflective on a child’s clothing could save a life.

Lieutenant William Dowdell with APD said another good idea is assigning one parent to walk with kids to a bus stop or to school.

The Sherwood School zone
The Sherwood School zone(WALB)

He says a neighborhood parent group can assign a different parent each day, ensuring kids always have adult supervision.

”Having an adult supervisor walk with the children to the bus, to show them how to properly walk to the bus stop, watch them get on the bus, and then, of course, that person can return home and do the same thing in the afternoon.”

Dowdell said it’s also important to avoid putting anything identifying on a child’s lunchbox or book bag, because this falls in line with ‘stranger danger.’

An Officer with APD says many times children board a bus or walk to school, there isn't much...
An Officer with APD says many times children board a bus or walk to school, there isn't much light.(WALB)

”Sometimes kids don’t understand what danger is, or what a stranger may be all the time. Any individual can call their name out and say “Hey I’m here to pick you up, and the child may go with them. Now we have a missing child, and that’s something nobody wants to go through,” said Dowdell.

When school starts, APD sees more early morning crashes because of an uptick in cars on the road. They recommended leaving home early and having an alternate route. Going a different way may help you avoid traffic and get you to your destination quicker.

New to school zones in Albany are the Red Speed cameras. Red Speed is an initiative that was approved by the state of Georgia. The goal is to get people to slow down in school zones.

Albany Police Department said the cameras will be active about an hour before and an hour after school starts at the reduced speed limit.

Lieutenant William Dowdell with Albany Police Department
Lieutenant William Dowdell with Albany Police Department(WALB)

The cameras will also be active during school, but at the normally posted speed limit for that road.

There is a court appearance process for those who wish to dispute the citation. For those who want to pay the fine, Lt. Dowdell said these violations don’t affect your insurance.

”It’s what’s known as a civil penalty. It’s kind of like receiving a parking ticket there’s just a fine associated, but it does not affect your insurance, because it’s situated with your registration, and not with you as an individual driver.”

Dowdell said some of the school zones have flashing lights, and others just have signage.

Dowdell said the system is only going to be active during the school year. The police department hasn’t decided about summer school yet.

  • REDSPEED Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Question: Why are the Speed Zone Cameras being installed?

Answer: Over the past ten years, there has been a nationwide spike in pedestrian fatalities due to a combination of speeding and distracted driving. Communities are turning to automated Enforcement to encourage motorists to follow speed limits and pay attention. Automated Enforcement is endorsed as a safety tool by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the National Safety Council.

Slower driving saves lives. A person is about 70% more likely to be killed if they are struck by a vehicle traveling 30mph versus 25 mph. There is a 93% chance of survival if a pedestrian is struck at 20mph. Small differences in speed make a huge difference, especially in school zones.

Question: My area school has a lot of speeders. How can I request a system?

Answer: Speed Enforcement Programs are selected by the Police Department and local schools after a traffic study is performed to assess road conditions. Requests can be sent directly to the Albany Police Department’s Traffic Unit at 229-431-2100.

Question: How will I know where the cameras are?

Answer: The Police Department will be putting in new clearly visible signage, warning drivers that cameras enforce the roads. Additionally, the Police Department will provide a 30-day warning period when drivers will get used to the new signs, and speeders will receive Warning Notices in the mail.

Question: I received a Warning Notice. What do I do?

Answer: Warning Notices are courtesy notices extended by the Police Departments, in addition to new clearly visible signs, to put drivers on notice of stepped-up Enforcement in school zones. If you received a Warning Notice, no further action is required. All drivers are encouraged to obey speed laws.

Question: What are the criteria for receiving a speeding ticket?

Answer: According to state law, automated school zone tickets are issued to drivers exceeding more than ten (10+) miles per hour over the speed limit.

Question: How much is the fine?

Answer: The first violation is $75 and $125 for subsequent violations. Payments are due by the “Pay By” date listed on the citation.

Question: Can I view my violation?

Answer: Yes. Login to https://secure.speedviolation.com and enter your citation number. You will be able to view photos and videos of the violation.

Question: What hours do the cameras operate?

Answer: From one hour before school until one hour after school. All monitored school zones and speeds are clearly marked.

Question: I received a School Zone Speed Ticket. How do I pay for it?

Answer: You may mail a check or money order to the address printed on the citation and pre-printed return envelope.

For faster credit card payments, you may pay securely online at https://secure.speedviolation.com. Electronic payments post the same day, and you can receive a confirmation by e-mail.

For PAYMENT BY PHONE: Call 833-917-7333, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Question: If I get a ticket, will my insurance go up?

Answer: Citations are civil offenses, not criminal infractions. No points are assessed on your driving record for automated enforcement violations. However, fines do escalate for repeat offenders.

Question: How do the Cameras work? Are they accurate?

Answer: The enforcement program utilizes state-of-the-art multi-dimensional radar that tracks and monitors up to 350 cars simultaneously. Radar is accurate within .1 miles per hour. A detailed maintenance and a testing log is maintained at all times. No tickets are issued within any possible margin of error.

Question: What happens to ticket revenue?

Answer: According to state law, paid citation revenue must be utilized for law enforcement activities that will make communities safer, such as police equipment and new school resource officers.

Question: Where can I read the law on automated Enforcement?

Answer: Please click on the following link for the latest version of the Official Code of Georgia. O.C.G.A. § 40-14-18 (Lexis Advance through the 2019 Regular Session of the General Assembly)

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