YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — City police have revised their schedule for hours of operation for traffic cameras in school zones.
The cameras will be in operation from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on days school is in session. Previously, they were to be in operation until 9 p.m.
The reduced time came after receiving feedback from the community, said Gena Sullivan of Blue Line Solutions earlier this week.
The cameras will be in operation in school zones to monitor speed throughout the time it is assumed students will be in school, either for classes or for sports or other extra-curricular activities, said Lt. Brian Welsh.
Each school will also have two-hour periods of time in the morning and afternoon, during arrival and dismissal for students, when speed will be reduced to 20 miles per hour. When the reduced speed is in effect, some of the zones have flashing signs that will alert drivers to the change, said Lt. Robert Gentile, head of the department’s traffic unit.
Gentile added that the department is working to get flashing lights for all of the school zones.
The normal speed limit depends on the area, and those speed limits are posted on signs in those areas.
When there is no reduced speed in a school zone, drivers must still obey the regularly posted speed limit during the hours the cameras are in operation, or else they can still get a citation.
Fines for tickets will range from $100 to $150. There is a process to contest the tickets, Gentile said. When drivers get tickets in the mail, there will be a form they can fax or mail asking to have a court hearing.
The fines are set by state statute, Welsh said, and not by the city.
A driver who claims someone else was driving their car when they were recorded speeding can also fill out an affidavit stating they were not driving, Gentile said.
The cameras have been in operation since Jan. 17, but right now, only warnings are being issued. Citations will be issued beginning Feb. 17.
During a study before the cameras were installed, it was found that 47 percent of drivers were traveling 11 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, Welsh said. During the time the cameras have been up, another study was taken that showed 16 percent of drivers were at 11 miles an hour or more over the speed limit, a reduction of 65 percent.
Under state law, a person can not be issued a speeding citation unless they are 11 miles over the speed limit for a regularly posted speed zone or six miles an hour over a restricted speed zone.