When classes begin next week for the 2021-22 academic year across the Barrow County School System, implementation of traffic camera technology aimed at cracking down on speeding in school zones will go into effect at multiple district campuses.
Starting Tuesday, Aug. 3, the Barrow County Sheriff’s Office will activate the “Photo Speed Enforcement System” with laser-powered cameras and “extensive signage” at select locations.
The sheriff’s office and school district are implementing the program after a comprehensive study completed last year showed high volumes of vehicles speeding past schools during hours operation.
“Ultimately, we want safer roadways for everyone,” school officials said in a recent news release. “Careless driving and distracted kids are on the rise in our community. We face a dangerous problem, and we’re working to solve it.”
The Photo Speed Enforcement System will combine a public information campaign along with a 30-day warning period to encourage people to slow down and change their driving habits, according to the release. In school zones, there are flashing lights and posted speed limits. Additional road signs will show a vehicle’s speed and give advance warning of the upcoming school zone. Cameras will be used to identify any vehicles traveling over the approved speed limit.
Anyone in the designated school zone driving 11 mph or more over the posted speed limit will receive a citation in the mail.
The BCSO will fine offenders $100 for the first citation and $125 for each additional offense. This violation is a civil violation and is not considered a traffic violation. Offenders will not receive points on your driver’s license, and it will not be reported to your insurance, according to the release.
The automated speed zone will be enforced on school days starting one hour before school starts until one hour after the end of the school day. Even when lights are not flashing, the speed limit will be photo enforced when school is in session all day long, officials said.
For a list of school bell times, go to the district’s website at www.barrow.k12.ga.us.
In zones with multiple schools, automated enforcement will start from the earliest start time to the latest end time. For example, Yargo Elementary starts at 7:30 a.m. and Apalachee High School ends at 3:35 p.m. This speed zone will therefore be enforced from 6:30 a.m. until 4:35 p.m. each school day, officials said.
The 30-day warning period will run from Aug. 3 through Sept. 3. Enforcement will start on Tuesday, Sept. 7, when classes return after Labor Day.
The system is already in use in other school districts in the area, which have seen a 50-76% reduction in speeding, officials said, adding that the program “will protect our children, while freeing up our school resource officers to help prevent problems elsewhere.”
The Apalachee High/Haymon -Morris Middle/Yargo Elementary, Bethlehem Elementary, Bramlett Elementary, County Line Elementary, Holsenbeck Elementary and Kennedy Elementary/Westside Middle campuses are included in phase 1 of the program.