Gwinnett flips switch on first speed camera near schools

A speed camera on U.S. Highway 78 next to South Gwinnett High School in Snellville. The cameras capture video footage and the license plate of people driving 11 mph or higher over the posted speed limit an hour before and after and while class is in session. (Tyler Wilkins / tyler.wilkins@ajc.com)

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A speed camera on U.S. Highway 78 next to South Gwinnett High School in Snellville. The cameras capture video footage and the license plate of people driving 11 mph or higher over the posted speed limit an hour before and after and while class is in session. (Tyler Wilkins / tyler.wilkins@ajc.com)

Some speeding past Gwinnett County schools will soon find $75 fines zipping into their mailboxes.

Gwinnett County Police Department started operating its first speed-monitoring camera at Duncan Creek Elementary School near Braselton on Monday as part of its School Zone Safety Program.

Four cameras are planned. Others will be installed at Anderson-Livsey Elementary School near Centerville, Graves Elementary near Norcross and Lanier High School near Buford by early next year. Signs warning drivers of the cameras will be posted before they begin operating.

Speeders will receive a 30-day grace period with warnings. Anyone who speeds past the Duncan Creek camera after Dec. 8 will face a $75 fine for their first violation and $125 fines for subsequent violations.

So far this year, eight pedestrians have been killed within the county. The police department hopes the cameras deter drivers from speeding through school zones.

“These cameras will allow ongoing speed enforcement, giving us the ability to utilize manpower elsewhere,” said Officer Hideshi Valle in a video released by the department.

A spokesperson for the police department declined to offer the speed above the limit at which drivers will receive tickets. But she said it’s unlikely that speeding at 1 or 2 mph over the posted limit will result in fines.

The county’s Board of Commissioners approved a contract with RedSpeed USA, which will install the cameras for free. The Illinois-based company pockets 28.4% of all revenue generated by the cameras, while the county keeps the rest.

The county expects to generate $4.4 million in ticket revenue during the first year.

Several municipalities within Gwinnett County already operate speed-monitoring cameras near school zones. The cameras generated an estimated $3 million for the cities of Duluth, Lilburn, Norcross and Snellville by mid-2021, according to an analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The cameras begin flagging drivers for speeding one hour before classes begin until one hour after classes end, typically around 8 a.m.-4 p.m. An officer will confirm each violation before issuing a ticket by mail to the vehicle’s owner.

A speed violation will not result in points on a driver’s license. But ignored notices will prevent the renewal of a vehicle’s registration or transferring its title.

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