New Miami’s old speed camera program was found unconstitutional, thus those drivers caught speeding contend New Miami must return the fines it collected. GREG LYNCH/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Duluth adding speed cameras to school zones for ticketing, monitoring

More than 8,000 people speed through school zones while class is in session daily, according to the Duluth Police Department. Come the new school year, cameras will be helping police ticket speeders.

The city of Duluth has partnered with the company RedSpeed to install speed cameras on roads near Duluth Middle School, Coleman Middle School, Mason Elementary School and Chattahoochee Elementary School. The cameras, equipped with license plate readers, will flag drivers for a ticket if they speed in a school zone and alert police if “dangerous offenders” or people with temporary protection orders drive in the school zone.

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The cameras will also provide real-time traffic monitoring, which will be used to monitor potential dangers or search for suspects in the event of an emergency like an Amber Alert, the department said in a release.

The cameras and RedSpeed’s services come without charge to the city. The company is instead compensated with 35% of the revenue from tickets issued using the cameras.

When someone is clocked going at least 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, their information will be sent to RedSpeed and the Duluth Police Department for verification before a ticket is issued. Once the speed and license plate are verified, a ticket will be mailed to the driver, said Officer Ted Sadowski, a department spokesman. Fines start at $75 for the first offense and rise to $125 for each additional speed violation.

The school zones with cameras will come with warning signs alerting drivers that the devices are operational. The camera use will also start with a “warning period” for drivers, the department said in a release.

The tickets will not add points to an offender’s license, unlike a ticket that would be given by an officer that “can cost upwards of $300,” according to the release. However, the department will not cut down on officer patrols in school zones, Sadowski said.

The department sees the cameras as a new tool to make school zones safer for kids and other pedestrians in the area, Sadowski said. The department hopes that they will serve as a further deterrent for speeders.

“We’re trying to be proactive and get ahead of the curve,” Sadowski said. “God forbid something happens to a student and we have to play catch-up.”

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