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More Myths About School Zone Cameras

Last month's "Canton Notes" column covered three myths about school zone cameras. To continue to confront misinformation about these traffic-control devices, here are three more myths circulating about the school zone speed cameras.

Myth No. 1: The police are not involved.

The statute requires a police officer to review each citation to ensure that it occurred at a time when the cameras were active or school was in session. For example, if the lights were flashing in front of a school during spring break and a speeding car received a ticket during that time for a speed that would otherwise be legal, that citation would be screened out by the police department.

Myth No. 2: Speed cameras are not effective at reducing speeding in the area.

As a part of their review of all the data collected by the cameras, the police department recently reported that the number of speeding cars dropped significantly after the cameras began operation. In fact, most citations come from first-time offenders, and very few citations are issued to the same vehicle more than once. By every measure, these cameras are slowing people down.

Myth No. 3: Nothing happens if you don't pay the fine.

For the first violation, the speeder is fined $75. Every subsequent violation carries a $125 fine. There is also a $5 processing fee added to each fine.

Since this is not a criminal proceeding, you cannot have your license revoked or a bench warrant issued for your arrest for not showing up to court. But the State Legislature decided to charge any unpaid fines from this program against your license when it comes up for renewal. Like a lien, you won't be allowed to renew your license if you have an outstanding balance.

Fact: The system knows when the lights are not flashing.

One of the most popular complaints on social media from people who receive a speeding ticket is, "The lights weren't flashing." Keep in mind that the flashing lights only indicate that the speed has dropped during that time – you can still receive a citation when the lights are not flashing if you are 11 mph over the regular posted speed limit.

The lights have an internal monitor that double-checks to ensure that they are flashing when they are supposed to be flashing. If there is a malfunction when they are supposed to be flashing but they are not, the system alerts the officers reviewing the information to the issue. In that case, a driver would only receive a citation if he/she was speeding over the posted speed limit.

These speed cameras are a useful tool to address speeding near our schools. Not only do they make for safer enforcement, but they also free up our police officers to focus on other traffic issues and public safety duties. This efficiency results in safer roads and more effective public safety operations. 

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