GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — In mid-October, a camera outside Corely Elementary School captured two cars driving in excess of 100 miles per hour. Both were cited for speeding.
But that’s a rare example these days, according to data from the Gwinnett County Police Department. Speeding is down roughly 95% in school zones where cameras were installed — from about 7,300 violators a day to about 350.
“School zones have parents unloading children. You have school buses, unloading children, picking up children and vice versa so there’s a lot of pedestrian traffic,” Gwinnett PD Cpl. Juan Madiedo said. “All these things account to a very dangerous situation if people do not respect the speed limit.”
The cameras turn on one hour before school starts and shut off an hour after classes let out for the day. The exact speed limits and hours for the 12 participating schools are posted on the Gwinnett County website.
“The way the cameras are selected is based on a study that’s done in a particular setting, a particular safety zone,” Madiedo said. “A panel then makes the ultimate decision based on the numbers of the speeders and the speed that they’re violating and the pedestrian traffic.”
An officer reviews every citation before it is mailed out. The camera issued citations are only valid for those going 11 miles per hour above the speed limit or more.
Most people slow down after their first violation — showing the program can work.
“Only 7% of the violators are repeat offenders,” Madiedo said. “Our goal is to minimize speeding.”
He said the goal is compliance — not tickets.
“It’s not a trap. It’s absolutely not. We have signage, we have flashing lights, public awareness,” he said. “If you don’t speed, you won’t get a ticket.”