‘It seems to be a significant problem’: RedSpeed cameras issuing more than 4K citations per month

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Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 7:24 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - We’ve heard from several upset Albany drivers about school zone speeding tickets.

RedSpeed cameras say an average of more than 4,000 citations are being sent a month. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines have been collected.

Albany police say six cameras capture those drivers.

Police report almost 7,500 of them were going 11 miles per hour over the speed limit last month. So far this month, nearly 1,200 citations have been issued in 13 school days.

“If it was not such a problem, we would not have nearly as many citation issues, as have been issued. The cameras give evidence to complaints about speeding in school zones,” Albany Mayor Bo Dorough said.

They cost $75 each. City leaders say the cameras are helping.

“Based on some of these numbers, it seems to be a significant problem,” Albany Police Sgt. Gregory Gadt said.

But some Albany drivers tell us the school zone speed law is not clear and the signage is confusing.

Some of the money from speeding fines gathered in the school zones will go to pay for the system.
Some of the money from speeding fines gathered in the school zones will go to pay for the system.(WALB)

They also say driving near Albany schools can be a nightmare, especially if you’re not familiar with the town.

The schools are spread across the city, and each school grade level has a different start and end time. Each school zone camera records violations at different speeds throughout the day. Many of those school zones are blocks from the school doors.

'Red Speed' school zone cameras in the city of Albany.
'Red Speed' school zone cameras in the city of Albany.(WALB)

I went to North Slappey, where a new camera zone is coming. It’s three blocks from Northside Elementary School’s doors.

That day after school, one student crossed the crosswalk.

I also checked on Whispering Pines, a block from Sherwood Acres Elementary. While dozens of kids crossed Doncaster Drive in front of the school with no camera, two students crossed Whispering Pines.

I checked Dawson Road at Merry Acres Middle. No students crossed, and the crossing guard said that’s typical.

“This idea that the city is somehow using the RedSpeed cameras to generate revenue is just somewhat unfounded. State law restricts the use of these monies to law enforcement,” Dorough said.

Most important is students’ lives. In September 2016, just after 7 a.m., 9-year-old Antonio Shed Jr. was killed when hit while walking across North Mock Road at Leonard Avenue, headed to Turner Elementary School.

In 2016, Antonio Shed Jr., 9, was hit and killed near the school zone. (Source: WALB)
In 2016, Antonio Shed Jr., 9, was hit and killed near the school zone. (Source: WALB)

Family members say Shed threw his sister out of the way, saving his sister before he died. Four kids were hit.

Jahkara Arnold, 10, was critically injured and needed numerous surgeries to recover. The city grieved and a large memorial was set up at the scene.

“It was created for safety. The city is installing more Redspeed cameras, using the hundreds of thousands of dollars collected in fines. But drivers tell us city officials instead should first use the money to improve the signage at current RedSpeed school zones, and better explain the law citing speeders during the school day,” Gadt said.

“You are seeing the use of these cameras throughout the state and the country. And it’s something that’s going to be with us for the foreseeable future,” Dorough said.

Many drivers have told us the school zones are too confusing, forcing drivers to check times and days, and recalculate speeds too often in traffic. Obviously, drivers are speeding and should slow down.

City Commissioners say safety is a top priority, and over and over say not a money grab. But several commissioners and the mayor told me they are hearing complaints every day.

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