San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

COVER: Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant and Pct. 4 Constable Ron Hood, with deputy constables John Ellen, Travis Brown and Blaine Hamilton, are pictured with a radar- and camera-equipped van soon to be used in western Hays County to monitor traffic speed in school zones. SUBMITTED PHOTO


After a trial run caught dozens of violators at a Hays County campus last month, authorities will soon begin using camera enforcement to issue citations to drivers who speed through school zones in the Wimberley and Dripping Springs areas.

Between July 15 and July 24, warnings were issued to 71 drivers photographed exceeding the speed limit at Scudder Primary School on Green Acres Drive.

“We knew that too many people were disregarding the school zone speed limits and endangering our children, but we were all surprised and dismayed” at the number of violations, Pct. 4 Constable Ron Hood said.

The Hays County School Zone Speed Safety Camera program uses a minivan equipped with two-dimensional ranging radar and two high-resolution color cameras to monitor vehicles speeds around schools that do not lie within an incorporated city. During student drop-off and pick-up times, the van photographs the license plates of vehicles exceeding the speed limit by more than 6 mph during student drop-off and pick-up times and by more than 11 mph the rest of the school day.

Beginning Sept. 8, local enforcement agencies will begin using the vans to issue citations at Jacob’s Well Elementary, Scudder Primary and St. Stephen’s Episcopal School near Wimberley and at Rooster Springs Elementary, Dripping Springs Elementary and Dripping Springs Middle School near Dripping Springs.

“This technology will free up law enforcement officers to protect the public elsewhere while maintaining the priority that is our children’s safety. The very visible vans should be enough incentive to make drivers slow down and obey the speed limit and if not, then a ticket might encourage them to think twice the next time they enter a school zone,” Hays County Pct. 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant said.

Under a ten-year contract approved Feb. 17 with Tempe, Ariz.-based American Traffic Solutions, Hays County will receive 25 percent of revenue from speeding citations during the program’s first year and 40 percent of revenue thereafter. The contract will automatically renew for five five-year terms unless cancelled with notice.

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4 thoughts on “Camera enforcement in Wimberley, Dripping Springs school zones starts Sept. 8

  1. Sounds good unless the county tries to use this to enforce school zones where there is no school, i.e. Posey Road. There is a daycare at the corner with no crosswalks or any homes across Posey but there is a school zone?? On Hunter Rd where there are homes there is no school zone. The signage was put there probably to deter trucks in the area, but it is completely ineffective and if enforced would punish for no good reason. The daycare possibly doesn’t even meet the criteria for a school other than having school in the name.

  2. I’m pretty sure that they will put school zones next to any private school or daycare that requests one. Given the reputation of the people who run that day care, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if that particular school zone was placed there at the owners’ request.

  3. Is this legal? It’s my understanding that automated speed enforcement is not legal in Texas.
    In addition, a private company gets 60-75% of the revenue. It sounds like the red light camera fiasco along with it’s lawsuits and huge mess. Does our county want to get into this?
    In years past, at the beginning of the school year and several times throughout the year motorcycle police would enforce speeding laws. It was very effective — I remember seeing a lot of speeding through school zones at the start of the year, then after a couple of weeks of enforcement people remembered to slow down. The effect lasted for several months after the motorcycles left.

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