Police cameras in school zones: What to know about photo-enforced speed limits

School zone speeding cameras
School zone speeding cameras

Credit: Google Maps

Credit: Google Maps

If you speed in a school zone in one of these metro Atlanta cities, you might get a speeding ticket in the mail

Unincorporated Gwinnett County has joined other local governments across Georgia in adding speed-monitoring cameras in school zones.

In the metro Atlanta area, Gwinnett, Henry and Clayton have installed RedSpeed cameras. A total of 40 counties and cities across Georgia, including Austell, Canton, Duluth, Jonesboro, Lilburn, Roswell, and Snellville, had contracted with the company as of June 9, 2021, based on a list provided by RedSpeed. Georgia passed a state law that allows them in 2018.

Advocates of House Bill 978, passed by the Georgia Legislature and signed by then-Gov. Nathan Deal, said the cameras could lead to better compliance when no officer is around.

The cameras are intended to increase safety for pedestrians and drivers, Gwinnett County Police Chief Brett West said.

Warning signs that say “photo enforced” with the speed limit are posted ahead of school zones that have speed cameras, the AJC has previously reported. Points are not assessed on anyone’s license from a speed camera violation, but an unpaid fine can prevent someone from registering their vehicle when it’s time to renew.

Where are the school zone cameras?

The speed cameras located near three schools in Snellville started ticketing drivers in February 2021 after a 30-day grace period, becoming a hot topic on Facebook groups. An hour before school until an hour after, the cameras flag anyone driving 11 mph over the posted speed limit on days school is in session.

Georgia is not alone in using these cameras. The Governors Highway Safety Association reported in June 2021 that 19 states had laws allowing speed-enforcement cameras, and 21 states allowed red-light enforcement cameras to catch drivers who run red lights. Eight states had laws that prohibit them, the association said.

ExploreFrom 2021: Gwinnett County projects $4.4 million in ticket revenue from new speed cameras
Lilburn tickets from RedSpeed cameras
About 2,500 tickets were written from September 2020 to April 2021 by Lilburn police, resulting in approximately $129,000 in revenue for the city. The most recent data shows violations peaked in March, with repeat violators accounting for less than 10% of tickets
SOURCE: City of Lilburn
Lilburn's revenue from RedSpeed camera tickets
Gwinnett cities keep about 65% of all ticket revenue from the cameras while RedSpeed, which installs the cameras at no cost to local government, pockets the rest. This chart shows that breakdown in Lilburn during the most recent months for which data is available.
SOURCE: City of Lilburn

Ongoing coverage

From 2021: Contract for school zone speed cameras in Atlanta comes under fire

From 2019: School zone speed cameras arrive in Georgia due to recent law

From 2018: Cameras not cops: when machines enforce the laws

A speed limit sign on U.S. Highway 78 in Snellville by South Gwinnett High School with a "photo enforced" warning. (Tyler Wilkins / tyler.wilkins@ajc.com)
A speed limit sign on U.S. Highway 78 in Snellville by South Gwinnett High School with a "photo enforced" warning. (Tyler Wilkins / tyler.wilkins@ajc.com)

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