Ofc. Teresa Fuller
Wednesday, December 30, 2015 at 5:14 p.m.
The warning period for Spokane’s School Zone Safety Cameras will come to an end January 4th, 2016. Two cameras, one on Northwest Boulevard and one on Nevada, will start issuing tickets to the registered owner of a vehicle that exceeds the posted speeds in the 20mph school zones at Finch and Longfellow Elementary schools when school resumes on Monday morning next week.
Last year, members of Spokane’s City Council voted in support of School Zone Speed Safety Cameras. Monday, January 4th, 2016, Spokane will begin issuing citations as part of a comprehensive pilot program in several school zones, beginning with Longfellow and Finch Elementary Schools.
After a student was critically injured by a speeding vehicle just blocks from an elementary school in November 2014, city leadership was determined to find a solution to the growing problem of pedestrian safety and speeding in school zones. A resolution passed in December of 2014 called for the placement of Speed Safety Cameras in school zones and the installation of flashing signals to remind drivers of the posted speed limit.
Speeding is a deadly and costly problem in school zones. A national survey found two-thirds of drivers exceed the posted speed limit in school zones during the 30-minute periods before and after classes. School zone speed safety cameras provide a constant enforcement presence that changes driver behavior for improved community road safety.
The warning period, which started Nov. 17th, was immediately impacted by that week’s major windstorm. Even with school being out through Thanksgiving weekend, a total of 1,876 warnings were issued to registered owners whose vehicles were caught exceeding the speed limit in those two school zones. At Finch Elementary, 621 warnings were issued to drivers eastbound on Northwest Blvd and at Longfellow Elementary, 1,255 warning were issued to drivers southbound on Nevada.
Speeding kills and not just on highways. In 2010, speed-related crashes killed 181 people in Washington. Children are especially vulnerable. A pedestrian struck by a car at 20 mph has a 90 percent chance of survival, but the survival rate drops to 50 percent at 30 mph.
Cameras will operate during school hours when the school beacons are flashing to capture images of every vehicle exceeding the school zone speed limit. Signs have been installed to provide warning of the school zone safety cameras.
Officer John O'Brien