Enhancing Child Safety in School Zones through Automated Speed Enforcement

A program initiated by the City of Seattle to help impact dangerous speeding in school zones, reduce collisions and enhance the safety of children and pedestrians is kicking off today. 

Starting November 1st, school zone speed cameras will go “live” in four selected school zones around the city: Broadview-Thomson K-8 School, Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Olympic View Elementary School and Gatewood Elementary School.  The siting process began last year when Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) staff undertook an analysis of 50 schools where they had installed flashing beacons to encourage drivers to go the speed limit through the school zone.  SDOT narrowed the list to 15 schools where speeding continued to be a concern, and conducted a week-long speed study in all of those locations.  The list was eventually narrowed to four schools that would receive the greatest speed reduction/safety benefit from automated speed enforcement. 

Last summer, the list of schools was presented to Mayor McGinn.  SDOT and ATS (the city contracted vendor) then performed feasibility studies at the locations and determined that they were all good candidates for the cameras.  Each of the school principals were notified of the plans for automated speed enforcement and were all supportive of the cameras. 

The cameras will only issue tickets when the school zone yellow beacons are flashing (during school hours).  A written warning period will be in effect from November 1st to November 26th.  During the written warning period only warning citations will be mailed to violators caught speeding in the listed school zones. 

Starting on Monday, November 26th, which is the day kids return from Thanksgiving break, actual citations (tickets) will be mailed to motorists who disregard the speed limit in the monitored school zones.  The fine amount will be a fixed $189.00, the same cost as a ticket that would otherwise be issued by an officer. 

The goal of this program is not to issue tickets, but to improve safety and reduce collisions by raising awareness that speeding in school zones is particularly dangerous for children and pedestrians.  

The Seattle Police Department encourages all motor vehicle operators and bicyclists to be familiar with and obey all local and state traffic laws and to always drive with due regard for all others on the roadway.