Lawrenceville may add speed cameras to 5 school zones

After a police study showed up to 95% of drivers speeding in city school zones, Lawrenceville City Council is considering putting up speed cameras to issue more tickets.

Four Gwinnett cities — Duluth, Lilburn, Snellville and Norcross — have already approved these kinds of cameras, which flag any car going at least 10 mph above the speed limit for local police to ticket. Lawrenceville could become the fifth. Lawrenceville’s council is examining a speed camera plan at its Dec. 9 work session.

A study by the Lawrenceville Police Department found the worst speeders around Central Gwinnett High School. During both morning and afternoon periods of lower speed limits, 95% of drivers were at least 10 mph over the limit. Around Lawrenceville Elementary, 74% of morning drivers and 89% of afternoon drivers exceeded the speed limit. Benefield Elementary has two school zones, as it has entrances on both Old Norcross Highway and Riverside Drive. Officers found 21% of morning drivers and 82% of afternoon drivers going at least 10 mph over the limit on Old Norcross Highway, and 46% of morning drivers and 64% of afternoon drivers on Riverside Drive. Near Winn Holt Elementary, 54% of morning drivers and 58% of afternoon drivers exceeded 10 mph over the speed limit.

The cameras the city are considering record the license plate of any car that goes at least 10 mph in a school zone during designated morning and afternoon periods when students, parents and staff may be coming and going from campus. Local police review the tape before signing off on a speeding ticket that will be mailed to the owner of the car.

“Our research has shown positive results and reception in other communities across the state, as much as a 75% overall reduction of speeding in school zones,” City Manager Chuck Warbington said in a city release. “Utilizing speed cameras also allows police officers to be more productive in other areas of the City, while still enforcing the law for the safety of our children and educators.”

The cameras, which would be supplied by Blue Line Solutions, would be installed at no cost to the city. Instead, Blue Line Solutions would take a portion of the revenue from tickets issued through the cameras. The remaining 65% goes to the city and by law must be spent on public safety. Tickets start at $75 and go up to $125 for repeat offenders. These ticket amounts, set under the same law regulating the revenue use, are generally less than those that come with a ticket issued by an officer during a traffic stop, and do not add points to a driver’s license.

The final decision on speed cameras won’t be made at the Dec. 9 work session, but the Lawrenceville City Council is soliciting feedback from residents on the proposal. City residents can find contact information for Mayor David Still and each city council member on the city website at Lawrencevillega.org.