Driver-perspective photo looking through car windshield at roadway

Update On School Speed Zone Camera Enforcement Program

Released May 27, 2022 11:27 AM
Just over two years ago, the City of Alpharetta began our School Speed Zone Camera Enforcement Program, an effort to improve safety for Alpharetta students by more consistently enforcing speed limits around our schools during the hours when students are present.  A few key factors led us to initiate the camera enforcement program:

• At the time the program was instituted, traffic fatalities were the number one cause of death for children aged 5-14 and for young adults, those between the ages of 15 and 29.  Pedestrian fatalities had also been rising for a decade, and Georgia had become one of the five deadliest states for pedestrians.

• In April 2019, a study conducted in six Alpharetta school zones found that 3,557 drivers were traveling in excess of 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit while the school zones were active.  The sample, which was taken during a nine-hour period, found that more than 54% of violators were traveling at least 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit with 14.2% exceeding the speed limit by 20 to 24 miles per hour.

• While motorists kept their speeds closer to posted limits when police officers were present and clearly conducting speed enforcement activities in the school zones, drivers went right back to their unsafe, speeding ways as soon as the officers were not present.  Since it is simply not possible for us to maintain a police traffic enforcement presence in every school zone every morning and afternoon, another approach was needed.

So, has the School Speed Zone Camera Enforcement Program been effective?  A two-year analysis of the program indicates that it has.

You can download the full report by visiting https://bit.ly/3z4C1rO and clicking on the link titled “School Zone Safety Program 2-Year Report”.  In the meantime, there are a couple of things from the report that I would like to point out.

• Between January 2020 and March 2022, a total of 52,341 speeding violations have been issued through the camera enforcement program.  Most of these were issued in 2021 and 2022 because we did not begin using violation until February 2020 and the cameras were not active in April through August of 2020 while schools were shutdown.

• In November and December of 2020, when the program was truly first in full operation, motorists were issued 4,822 and 5,012 speeding violations respectively through the program.  For the same months in 2021, the violation counts were down to 2,955 and 2,280, a reduction of 4,599 violations or 46.7%.

• In January, February, and March of 2021, the camera enforcement program saw speeding violations issued to a total of 8,975 motorists compared to 6,576 violations during the same period in 2022.  That is a reduction of 2,399 violations or 26.7%.

While we have not yet had two complete school years during which the School Speed Zone Camera Enforcement Program been in operation, the year-to-year comparison of the months for which data is available does indicate that the number of motorists speeding in our active school zones has declined significantly as a result of this enforcement tool.  In fact, if you compare the first three full months of the program to the most recent three months included in the analysis, the positive impact becomes very apparent, with a reduction in speeding violations of 43%.  That improvement is even more striking when you consider that traffic volumes had been well below normal until fairly recently.

Clearly, there is still work to be done.  In March 2022, we still saw 2,484 speeding violations issued through the program, and violations are not issued for vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit by less than 11 miles per hour.  Still, the School Speed Zone Camera Enforcement Program is having a positive impact on driver behavior, and that is making Alpharetta’s school zones safer for our children.