Roswell OKs school zone speed cameras, mailing fines to drivers

School zone cameras will record those going too fast near a school and fine them by mail. TY GREENLEES / DAYTON DAILY NEWS

School zone cameras will record those going too fast near a school and fine them by mail. TY GREENLEES / DAYTON DAILY NEWS

If the safety of children isn’t enough to slow down thousands of drivers near schools, maybe a $75 fine will work.

That’s what the Roswell City Council is hoping. Council members unanimously voted Monday to sign a contract with a company that will install speed cameras outside schools, record those going over the speed limit and mail offenders a fine after identifying their license plate numbers.

Roswell joins about 20 other cities in Georgia, including Gwinnett County's Duluth and Lilburn, that contract with Illinois-based RedSpeed USA to ticket drivers. The service is free to the cities, but RedSpeed gets 35% of the ticket revenue. The rest is kept by the city and must be used for public safety.

READ | School zone speed cameras arrive in Georgia due to recent law

This is all now happening because the state government passed House Bill 978 in 2018. The law lets speed cameras be used to ticket drivers in school zones as long as drivers are 10 mph over the speed limit. while school zone lights are flashing. Drivers can technically be ticketed by an officer for only going 1 mph over the speed limit, so the cameras are more lenient.

The bill limits fines to $75 for the first offense and then $125 for all subsequent offenses; these are civil violations and will not add points to anyone’s license.

When Roswell police presented the plan to council members on Monday, they said there were 15 school zones in the city and nine traffic officers.

READ | Meet the new neighborhood watch: License-plate reading cameras

A RedSpeed analysis of the city found six schools that presented a risk to students and others, according to the presentation. The worst was Holcomb Bridge Middle School, which had 1,719 violations of more than 10 mph in one school day. Hembree Elementary School had 1,664 such violations. The next was Sweet Apple Elementary with 432 violations.

The video recordings will be kept for 45 days so police can review them in case they can help an investigation. They will be deleted afterwards to ensure privacy, police said.

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