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
FROM STAFF REPORTS
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.Email | Print