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Warner Robins may be installing speed cameras in school zones

A new traffic study shows hundreds of drivers speeding through school zones in Warner Robins.
City councilmembers say the results show a need for speed cameras.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Speed cameras could soon be the newest Warner Robins equipment added to your child’s school zone.

A company that installs speed cameras recorded more than 1,600 drivers speeding in front of Lake Joy Elementary School, in one day, and that’s just a sliver of data that comes from their new, detailed traffic study.

Most of the time, traffic on Lake Joy Road sounds like a highway.

“Surprisingly, it’s very calm today,” Prince Taylor said.

Taylor grew up riding a school bus here.

Now, he rides his bike to Central Georgia Technical College.

“I go on this path or I follow right behind here if the traffic over here is too bad,” Taylor said.

In March, RedSpeed USA did a traffic study near three Warner Robins schools.

The City and the Warner Robins Police Department just released the results.

“It was eye-opening for the amount. We knew there was speeding, but we had no idea that there was that much amount of speed and how high the speed was as well,” Warner Robins Police Chief John Wagner said.

RedSpeed USA found hundreds of speeders flying by Northside High School, Warner Robins High School, and Lake Joy Elementary between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

“These are two of the larger elementary schools that we have in the City of Warner Robins. There’s a lot of traffic coming in, a lot of moms and dads dropping kids off, a lot of bus traffic coming in and out of here. We’ve seen I think it was up to 68 miles per hour. That in and of itself is about 18 miles over what the normal speed limit is, so if you factor in when it’s a school zone, you’re looking at almost 30 miles over what the limit is,” Councilman Kevin Lashley said.

That’s why Lashley says the city is thinking about installing speed cameras in some school zones.

“Anywhere you have a lot of foot traffic. That’s where we really want to start the focus and then eventually, if we can work them into all of them, that would be great,” Lashley said.

“It’s no secret what the speeds are in these school zones, but yet, people drive through them at high rates of speed, and, again, we don’t have the personnel that we can sit out there and can run radar every day, in every school zone. It’s just not possible,” Wagner said.

Wagner and Lashley say if the cameras were to catch you speeding, you would be given an administrative citation, not a criminal traffic citation.

“That’s the difference between hundreds of dollars,” Wagner said.

“There wouldn’t be any points on their license. It’s just a simple fine. They pay one fee for the first ticket. It bumps up for the second and third and so on; and that money goes directly to the police department, except for the portion that the company gets themselves,” Lashley said.

“The fine money has to go towards law enforcement projects. It is much more than speed zone cameras. This is much more than any revenue raising. That’s not the point of it at all. It’s about children safety in school zones. We don’t want anybody getting hit. The whole point is safety,” Wagner said.

“It’s something I would want, because I would at least have the mind of, I am being safe, they’re being safe. I have to watch for their speed, at least make them maintain focus of what they’re doing; and if someone else’s kid is being more protected, I mean, I would love that,” Taylor said.

To be clear, the city hasn’t approved these cameras.

Lashley and Wagner say they still have many details to discuss, like how many cameras to get and which school zones to put them in.

Wagner says the traffic study did not cost the city anything.

He also says, if the city approves the cameras, the cameras will send out warnings to speeders for 30 days before any citations are given.

They’d be active only during school zone hours.

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