ST. MARYS, Ga. – Four speed cameras have been installed outside two schools in St. Marys, intending to bring an additional layer of protection.
“We hope that will cause greater attention to the fact you need to slow down,” said Chief Mike Wilkie, with the St. Marys Police Department.
The cameras are being funded by public-private partnership between the city of St. Marys and the company that produces the cameras.
News4Jax took a ride along with Wilkie, who says after the Police Department conducted a speed study, it found two elementary schools were dealing with speeders.
Charlie Smith Senior Highway and Winding Road are notorious for cars speeding faster than the posted limit, authorities said. That’s why these new high-tech cameras have been installed for the safety of the school community.
These cameras will begin issuing citations after Labor Day.
“We were clocking cars coming through here at 55 and 65 mph all hours of the day,” said Wilkie.
Wilkie said drivers have a tendency to pick up speed on Charlie Smith Senior Highway since it’s a straight road.
If you’re speeding, these newly installed cameras will snap your license plate, run a registration check and then send a citation. Two cameras are at Crooked River Elementary and two more are outside Sugarmill Elementary.
“If you are driving at 35 mph, you have less than 30 seconds before you encounter your first crosswalk,” Wilkie said.
The chief says Winding Road has limited visibility and can really be a danger because of the blind curves. He said that a third grader was hit by a driver who was speeding last year outside Sugarmill Elementary.
“I’m not sure if speed zone cameras would’ve stopped that but helping slow people down might keep that type of thing from happening again,” said Wilkie.
Before citations take effect, drivers will receive a warning for the first 30 days of installation, per Georgia Law. After Labor Day, it’ll cost drivers $75 for a first offense and $125 for a second offense and subsequent offenses.
Violators who don’t pay will have their tag suspended upon renewal.
Wilkie said someone can protest by mail. Residents in Camden County will be required to go in-person for an administrative hearing.
“We’re not doing this in any sense as a revenue measure for the city of St. Marys,” Wilkie said. “We want people to slow down and my simple answer when someone says, ‘You’re just doing this to raise money,’ my simple answer is if you’re not speeding there won’t be any money raised.”