A camera-driven enforcement effort to cut speeds in City of South Fulton school zones resulted in an 82% reduction in the number of speeding citations issued during the first five months of the current school year, numbers reported today by the city show.
Officials launched the Ren’gia Majors School Zone Safety Program in late 2019. The initiative is named for an 11-year-old Sandtown Middle School student who was killed in February of that year when a speeding vehicle struck the car in which she was riding in front of the school.
City officials partnered with Blue Line Solutions to manage the program, which also reduced the number of cars traveling through school zones.
“We are celebrating success that has grown from tragedy,” said Mayor William ‘Bill” Edwards. “Not only are we honoring Ms. Majors, we are working to ensure our children are as safe as possible so no other family has to mourn the loss of a child.”
Dormant for much of last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school zone initiative became operative again in September in a staggered rollout across the zones. In corresponding 30-day grace periods, violators received warning citations. Actual tickets, carrying fines of $100 for first offenses and $150 for subsequent violations, were issued following those warning periods.
According to data gathered by Blue Line Solutions, the number drivers cited for speeding plunged from 38,315 to 6,917 – a drop of 82% across the school zones. Eight of the 10 active zones saw drops of at least 75%.
Also during the reporting period, overall traffic through the school zones declined by 18% – or just over 25,000 vehicles.
Council member Helen Zenobia Willis sponsored the legislation that created the initiative.
“Not only did we see a significant reduction in the number of speeders, we also saw far fewer cars traveling through our school zones,” Willis said. “The numbers plainly show our school zones – and our children – are safer because of the cameras. I can’t think of a better way to honor Ren’gia’s memory.”
Following Georgia law, the cameras monitor speeds and issue citations during the regular school day on weekdays. For an hour before and after students arrive at and leave school, a speed limit of 25 mph is in effect in all school zones. Flashing lights alert drivers to those times.
During the rest of the day, drivers are required to follow posted speed limits, which vary among the school zones.
“If the lights are flashing, keep your speed at 25 mph or under,” Police Chief Keith Meadows said. “At all other times, follow the posted limits. To put it simply, just slow down.”
Meadows pointed out that while the system does not issue citations outside of school hours, motorists are subject to traffic stops by patrol officers. In addition, police officials use data gathered by the cameras 24 hours a day to determine where extra patrols are needed.