RINCON, Ga. (WSAV) – City leaders say it’s time to slow down.
Rincon Elementary is the last school in the Effingham County School System to receive an automated traffic enforcement speed program.
Rincon Police Chief Jonathon Murrell is the force behind getting this program started in the city after attending a chief of police conference in 2020.
“I started speaking more with their representatives. It seemed to be a no-brainer for me, because the main goal here is the safety of children in the schools,” Chief Murrell says.
Studies from 2021 show there is a significant problem with speeding in the area.
When driving down Fort Howard Road, there are several signs warning drivers to slow down and that speeding is photo-enforced.
The speed limit is 35 miles per hour during school hours. The chief said, that anyone driving at 46 miles per hour will be ticketed.
The zone will also have flashing lights and additional signs to show your speed. The cameras will be active 24/7 but will not issue citations until one hour before and one hour after school hours, 6:45 a.m. to 3:35 p.m.
“That avoids the influx of traffic for parents picking up kids and kids getting out of the area… giving them time to get to school and time to leave school in a safe manner,” Chief Murrell says.
The 30-day warning period will run from October 2nd to November 1st. During this time, violators will receive a warning in the mail with no fine. Enforcement begins November 2nd. Tickets start at $100.
According to Chief Murrell, this is not a traffic violation but a civil violation. You will not receive points on your driver’s license, and it will not be reported on your insurance.
Speeding isn’t the only reason to have these cameras in the school zone, according to the chief.
“These camera systems have built in, automatic license plate readers. They will track if an individual who is a sex offender is repeatedly coming through these school zones. We can research that on that database,” Murrell says.
The community had questions when the program was first announced, according to Effingham County Schools Assistant Superintendent Timothy Hood.
“I think everybody, for the most part, is on the same page now… the most important thing is to make sure that it’s a safe space for the students coming and going,” Hood says.
The Rincon Police Department released a statement earlier this week that:
“We’re committed to slowing down drivers and protecting our kids. Please drive safely in our school zones and in our community,” a statement from the Rincon Police Department reads. “Our goal is ZERO. Zero injuries, zero crashes and zero endangered lives.”