SAVANNAH, GA (October 3, 2022): The Savannah Police Department will begin an Automated Traffic Enforcement Speed Device program at several schools throughout the city to increase safety for students, parents, teachers and anyone else traveling through the school zones.
As part of the program, speed studies were conducted across the city during school hours for a five-day period to see how many vehicles were speeding through the school zones. During that study, an excessive number of vehicles were determined to be speeding through the area during school zone hours.
The cameras were installed in 10 schools zones in the city: Garrison School of the Arts, Largo-Tibet Elementary, Myers Middle School zone on Tibet Avenue and the school zone on 52nd Street, Savannah Classical Academy, Savannah High, Shuman Elementary, Susie King Taylor Community School, White Bluff Elementary and Windsor Forest Elementary. More cameras in additional school zones are in the process of being added in the near future.
The Photo Speed Enforcement System combines a public information campaign along with a 30-day warning period to encourage people to slow down and change their driving habits. In school zones, there are posted speed limits. Schools will have flashing lights and additional road signs to show a vehicle’s speed and give advance warning of the upcoming school zone. Cameras will be used to identify any vehicles traveling over the approved speed limit. Anyone in the designated school zone driving 11 mph or more over the posted speed limit will receive a citation in the mail. This means that if the flashing light speed limit is 25 mph, the driver will be given a ticket at 36 mph. Once the lights turn off, the speed limit may rise to 35 mph, and you would be ticketed at 46 mph.
“This is about the safety of our children,” Assistant Chief Robert Gavin said. “Officers cannot be in every school zone every day, but by utilizing this technology, we can still have an effect on safety in those areas by keeping speeds low and keeping our children safe. The flashers, speed signs, cameras and enforcement measures have proven successful at changing driver behavior.”
Oct. 5 will start the initial 30-day warning period. During this 30-day warning period, violators will receive a warning in the mail that carries no fine. After the warning period has expired, violators will receive a citation in the mail. This violation is a civil violation and is not considered a traffic violation. You will not receive points on your driver’s license, and it will not be reported to your insurance. The automated speed zone will be enforced on school days starting one hour before school starts until one hour after the end of the school day. Even when lights are not flashing, the regularly posted speed limit will be photo enforced when school is in session and children are present.
The 30-day warning period will run from Oct. 5 for 30 days. Enforcement will begin Nov. 4. We’re committed to safeguarding our kids with this innovative initiative. Please drive safely in our school zones and in our community.
Question: Why were the Speed Zone Cameras installed?
Answer: Savannah Police began conducting School zone speed studies in May of 2020 to determine if there was a need for an automated speed enforcement program. The purpose of the program was to reduce the number of speeding vehicles traveling through school zones, thus reducing the likelihood of crashes, or injuries, especially those involving children. This extensive program emphasizes safety, education, and information components not usually utilized in photo-speed enforcement programs, with the goal of slowing down motorists and making school zones safer. City Council agreed with the need to make school zones safer and approved the school zone camera program in January 2021.
Question: Were there an excessive number of speeders in Savannah school zones?
Answer: The numerous speed studies conducted showed excessive speeding 11+MPH above the speed limit. Our goal is to change driver behavior and slow them down.
Question: Where are the cameras located?
Answer: In school zones that are clearly marked with signage that the school zones are monitored, and speed limits are enforced by automated speed enforcement technology. It should be assumed that automated speed enforcement technology is monitoring all school zones.
Question: Will I be ticketed for traveling 1 or 2 miles per hour over the posted limits?
Answer: Any speed above the posted speed limit in a school zone is a violation and can and will be enforced by the Savannah Police Department.
For the school zone camera enforcement, Georgia state law only allows automated citations issued in school zones to be issued to drivers exceeding the speed limit by 10 or more miles per hour.
Question: What are the hours of enforcement and what speed limits are enforced when?
Answer: School zone hours are posted and marked at each school. During school zone hours, reduced speed limits are enforced. The posted speed limits will also be enforced with photo speed enforcement throughout the entire school day or when children are present.
(a)(1) The speed limit within any school zone as provided for in Code Section 40-14-8 and marked pursuant to Code Section 40-14-6 may be enforced by using photographically recorded images for violations which occurred only on a school day during the time in which instructional classes are taking place and one hour before such classes are scheduled to begin and for one hour after such classes have concluded when such violations are in excess of ten miles per hour over the speed limit.
H.B. 40-14-18 Section 9
Question: How much are the fines?
Answer: First violations are $75.00 and a second or any subsequent violations are $125.00. Up to a $25.00 processing fee may be added to each violation. Payments are due by the “Pay By” date listed on the citation.
The owner of a motor vehicle shall be liable for a civil monetary penalty to the governing body of the law enforcement agency provided for in paragraph (2) of this subsection if such vehicle is found, as evidenced by photographically recorded images, to have been operated in disregard or disobedience of the speed limit within any school zone and such disregard or disobedience was not otherwise authorized by law. The amount of such civil monetary penalty shall be $75.00 for a first violation and $125.00 for a second or any subsequent violation, in addition to fees associated with the electronic processing of such civil monetary penalty which shall not exceed $25.00.
H.B. 40-14-18 Section 9
Question: I received a School Zone Speeding Citation. How do I pay for it?
Answer: The easiest and most convenient payment method is via the web. The following link may be used.
You may also mail a check or money order to the address printed on the citation and pre-printed return envelope.
Payment by phone: Call 855.252.0086. Please patiently and thoroughly listen to the prompts. If you wish to speak to a representative, press “9” or “0”. Representatives can look up your citation by name, notice number, or tag number.
Question: I received a violation for speeding but wasn’t driving my vehicle. Do I have to pay for it?
Answer: An automated photo speed violation is considered a civil violation and the law says the owner of the cited vehicle is responsible. In Georgia, you may “transfer” the violation to the driver of the vehicle by the below methods, as taken directly from the Georgia law:
A) Testifies under oath in open court or submits to the court a sworn, notarized statement that he or she was not the operator of the vehicle at the time of the alleged violation. B) Presents to the court a certified copy of a police report showing that the vehicle had been reported to the police as stolen prior to the time of the alleged violation. H.B. 978 40-14-18 Section 9 It should be noted that if the violation is not paid, the owner remains responsible for the violation and will not be able to register that vehicle until the fine is paid.
Question: If I get a ticket will my insurance go up?
Answer: Citations are civil offenses, not criminal. No points are assessed on your driving record for automated enforcement violations.
Question: How do the Cameras work? Are they accurate?
Answer: The automated speed enforcement technology is 100 percent accurate in determining exactly which vehicle it’s capturing. The stationary cameras use a LIDAR laser beam aimed at a single lane. The vehicles drive through the beam as they travel on the roadway. This guarantees the vehicle speed recorded is matched to the proper vehicle.
Question: What happens to citation revenue?
Answer: According to state law, paid citation revenue must be utilized for law enforcement activities, public safety initiatives, such as police equipment, and new school resource officers that will make our community safer.