Traffic during drop-off and pick-up at most schools is a twice-daily grind of gridlock, especially at schools like Bay Springs Middle School that fronts one of Carroll County’s busiest thoroughfares — Highway 61 between Carrollton and Villa Rica.
Because of safety concerns and as a way to moderate heavy traffic, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department has implemented signage and warning signals as well as school zone speed safety cameras at Bay Springs Middle School and Sharp Creek Elementary on Highway 113 between Carrollton and Temple.
“These things are all about safety in our school zones,” Sheriff Langley said, “and although I have heard many positive comments about what we are doing, I have also heard from some who don’t.”
The flashing signals are automatically activated and flash during school session period from one hour before school and one-hour after dismissal,” Sheriff Langley said.
“This is certainly not a 24-7 thing,” he added.
A patrol deputy also on the scene to assist in people entering the main entrance during the same period.
Langley noted that his department has performed studies and survey which has closely analyzed the traffic flow in several congested areas in Carroll County, but particularly in school zones.
“From these studies we have found that there is great many vehicles that are clocked going 20-25 mph over the speed limit,” Langley said, “and we seem to write more tickets that we have ticket books.”
He said that doing other studies, could be done in the future, but it is a long process.
“The warning lights, the posted signage, and having a deputy in school zones during these times of the day are all about safety for our students, teachers and parents.”
“Like I said, some folks say these measures are inconvenient and not that important, but the vast majority of people that I hear from say these things are good and needed to protect everyone.”
According to a release issued on Wednesday, Carroll County will begin issuing warnings for the new school zone speed cameras. Warning notices will be issued for 30 days to the registered owner of any vehicle that is photographed passing through the school zone in excess of the posted speed limit one hour before classes are scheduled to begin and one hour after classes have concluded. Warning notices do not include fines. However, fines will be issued to drivers who violate the law during the citation phase. First-time offenders will be fined $75, and subsequent offenses will result in a fine of $125.
The warning period gives drivers the opportunity to check their speed and comply with our school zone safety program before actual citations begin. “The intent of this program is to alert drivers to the school zones, reduce speeds, and increase safety for our children,” the release stated.
Georgia law allows for speed cameras to be deployed in school zones with violations issued to the registered owner of a vehicle caught traveling in excess of 10 miles per hour of the posted speed limit.
The enforcement locations were chosen based on a traffic study that identified the schools as having the highest number of vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit while school was in session. In just one day during the traffic study, there were 5,213 violators traveling more than 55 MPH in the 45 MPH posted speed limit.
“I’m pleased the County has school zone speed safety cameras near our schools. Any countermeasure to get drivers to slow down and be aware of children as they walk to and from school is beneficial,” said Scott K. Cowart, Superintendent, Carroll County School System.
Cameras will operate during school hours, in addition to operating one hour before classes are scheduled to begin and one hour after classes have finished, and citations will be issued DURING this time frame, so mind your speed and SLOW DOWN to avoid a citation. Crucial times when citations are subject to be issued are when students are being dropped off and picked up from school when students, staff, and guardians are most susceptible to being injured by speeding vehicles. Signs are in place to alert drivers that the school zone is a photo enforcement area. Cameras will capture images of the license plate of vehicles that exceed the school zone speed limit. Warnings will be issued after law-enforcement review.
The County contracts with Verra Mobility to administer its safety program, which provides road safety programs for communities across the United States and may be different than other local programs you may be familiar with as the times the cameras operate and when citations are issued may differ, as each government entity determines the parameters. The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office determines whether a violation event has occurred in these specified locations and reviews each notice prior to issuing warnings and citations.