November 29

Yikes! School-zone speed cameras could rake in $2-4 million a year?



They won’t issue you a real speeding ticket. Yet.

Although the warning-only grace  period for the new school-zone speed cameras, including the one at Olympic View Elementary School, 504 N.E. 95th St., was to expire this Monday, the cameras appear to have some glitches – they have “caught” almost 6,000 speeders in less than a month, according to our news partners The Seattle Times.

“We were surprised,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn told the Times.  At this past month’s rate, the fines could total $2-4 million annually, the mayor said.

Because there were so many speeders, the warning-citation period that was to end this week has been extended to Monday, Dec. 10, he said. From that day on, the registered owners of vehicles caught driving faster than 20 mph in those school zones while beacons are flashing will receive a $189 ticket in the mail.

The experimental cameras are set up at the flashing-light zones outside city schools as part of a pilot program, to see if speeding falls off. There are four cameras, including the one outside Olympic View on Fifth Avenue Northeast between approximately 94th and 96th streets.

That camera definitely had setup problems: In an earlier post on it Kristin commented:

Actually living next to one of these cameras is pure hell…it went on last night and it was like living in a photographer’s studio all night – flashes constantly. It made it impossible to watch television or even to sleep. I call DOT this morning to complain as they are being set off by almost every car going by – even outside of school hours.

That’s since been fixed. From the Times:

Seattle police say the cameras are recording all day, but drivers will be ticketed for speeding only when the school-zone beacons are flashing — times when children are most likely to be walking to and from school. Like red-light cameras at some intersections, the camera shoots a picture of the license plate.

About the author 

Sara W

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