Seattle school zone cameras: City leaders push to expand program

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SEATTLE — They are making Seattle’s streets safer – and generating millions of dollars in the process. As a result, school zone cameras are extremely popular at City Hall, where council members are poised to vote next week to more than double the program.

cameras“What we’ve seen actually is a reduction in speeding around those schools,” Mayor Mike McGinn said.

McGinn and other city leaders are declaring the school zone camera pilot program a big success.  They say in the four neighborhoods where they have been for the last several months speeds have gone down and student safety has gone up.

“Sixteen percent of the populace is driving slower and not getting tickets,” Seattle police Capt. Mike Nolan said.  “That ultimately is going to prevent accidents.”

Nolan said it’s likely that they have saved lives as well.

On Tuesday, the City Council heard highlights of the effectiveness of the current program.  These are the main reasons that have convinced them to add five more neighborhoods by early next year and maybe even more in the future:

  • Speeds have been reduced around schools
  • 96% of violators received only one citation
  • $5 million in revenue for 2013

At $189 a violation, there certainly has been some pushback from drivers those who say fines are steep and unfair.

Carolyn Galloway’s 89-year-old mother recently received two tickets.

“She’s on a fixed income.  She has no way to come down and mitigate the ticket,” said Galloway.  “It just seems a little excessive, and a speed trap.”

McGinn said that all funds from the tickets will be targeted.

“The money we raise from these speed cameras, we’re going to commit to safety around the schools, safe routes to schools,” McGinn said.  “Our goal, of course, is that our revenue will go down because people won’t speed.  That’s the ultimate objective.”

Despite the rather high ticket price, there is one benefit. School zone camera speed fines are not considered moving violations.  They are instead infractions, similar to a parking ticket.  They therefore do not effect a driver’s insurance.


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1 Comment

  • Phlebotomiss

    Funny how only people who have gotten tickets have issues with this. It sounds like people know what "the small letters" say and the "regular hours"… Is it really going to ruin your day by being 30 seconds later than if you didn't slow down? Really people… 30 seconds…

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