RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WSAV) – With thousands of kids headed back to school, Richmond Hill city leaders kicked off a new initiative geared towards making school zones safer.
” The faster you’re going the longer it takes to stop so if a child walks out in front of you, a car stops in front of you, you can’t stop near as fast if you’re traveling at a higher rate of speed. You just have to use caution and the speed limits are there for a reason to keep people safe,” Capt. Brad Sykes with the Richmond Hill Police Department explained.
The Richmond Hill Police Department is using technology to prevent tragedies. A speed study conducted by Blue Line Solutions in 2019 used detection cameras near Richmond Hill High School to evaluate whether cars were following traffic laws. Their research found the majority of the cars driving through the school zones during drop off and pick up times were speeding.
“Approximately 87 to 88 percent of the vehicles in the school zones were speeding at 11 miles per hour over the speed limit or higher. It’s dangerous because we have so many vehicles, we have students crossing in a crosswalk right in front of the school so it’s just a huge safety hazard,” Sykes said.
The city’s new safety program will utilize automated traffic enforcement safety cameras to issue citations to cars speeding through the school zone.
“I think it will definitely slow people down. Even though these cameras will only write citations for 11 miles an hour over or more, our officers will still be out there writing citations and that could be for one mile an hour or more over,” Sykes added.
The community will join a growing list of cities across the country utilizing automated cameras to crack down on reckless driving. Sykes said traffic accidents is one of their biggest concerns: “The biggest thing we’ll see is students using their phones or just traveling too fast. It could be a phone, talking to a friend, just looking away from the road for a split second could be the last mistake you make.”
The program will have a 30 day grace period where warnings will be issued before drivers begin receiving citations. Officers remind the community, they will continue to monitor school zones and can issue a ticket if drivers exceed the speed limit at all.