RINCON -- The Rincon Police Department is launching an automated traffic enforcement speed program at Rincon Elementary.
The cameras will be activated Oct. 2 and a 30-day warning period will begin. Drivers going over the posted speed limit will receive a warning only, no citation during the first 30 days.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 64% of child pedestrians killed in traffic crashes occurred during the weekday (6 a.m. Monday to 6:00 p.m. Friday)
Speed zone cameras are already in place in all other Effingham County schools. Rincon Elementary was the last school to have cameras installed and activated.
The cameras have proven to be a deterrent for would-be speeders. According to a Rincon spokesperson, the Effingham County Sheriff Office reports a 97% reduction in speeding citations since the program began within the county.
Another safety measure the cameras offer is student safety from would-be predators or potential abductions.
“These camera systems have built-in automatic license plate readers. They will track if an individual who is a sex offender is repeatedly coming through school zone,” said Rincon Police Chief Jonathon Murrell. “We can research that on that database. If we have a major incident at the school and a vehicle leaves that area, we can get a quicker direction of travel. We can get the tag number and identify the vehicle quicker with the system. So, it is not just speed enforcement. This is school security all the way around.”
School zones are clearly marked with posted speed limit signs. Zones will also have flashing lights and additional road signs to show a vehicle’s speed and give advance warning of the upcoming school zone. Cameras will be used to identify any vehicles traveling over the posted speed limit. Anyone in the designated school zone, driving 11 mph or more over the posted speed limit, will receive a citation in the mail.
The initial 30-day warning period begins Oct. 2. During this 30-day warning period, violators will receive a warning in the mail that carries no fine. After the warning period has expired, violators will receive a citation in the mail. This violation is a civil violation and is not considered a traffic violation. Violators will not receive points on their driver’s license, and it will not be reported to the driver’s insurance.
The purpose of the speed-zone cameras is not for the city to make money, but student safety.
“The most important thing for us is the students. Having these cameras in place on the highways and on the roads, the main goal is not to make money; it's just to make sure that students are safe going to school,” said Tim Hood, assistant superintendent for student services with the Effingham County School District.
“We definitely don't think it's unreasonable to have these cameras in place just to make sure that it's a deterrent from someone driving over the speed limit,” Hood continued. “The bus drivers are aware of the speed zones as well. And they're held to that same standard as well.”
In addition to slowing down in the speed zone, Hood wants to remind drivers they must stop behind a school bus displaying a stop sign while students are loading or disembarking.
“They have cameras on school buses now (to spot) the drivers who will bypass the stop signs out on a bus,” Hood added. “You'd be surprised the people who will go around school bus because the stop sign is definitely an ongoing effort for everybody.”
Photo speed cameras will be active and enforced when school is in session from 6:45 a.m.-3:35 p.m.
Regular posted speed is 45 miles per hour. Citations will be given to drivers at 11 mph over the posted speed limit.
Drivers must obey reduced speeds when flashing lights are on – 7-8 a.m. and 2:05-3:05 p.m. on school days. Citations will be issued to drivers traveling at least 11 mph over the posted speed limit.
The 30-day warning period will run from Oct. 2-Nov. 1. Enforcement will begin Nov. 2.