WTOC Investigates: Most speed camera citations are unpaid in Savannah

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 5:05 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:30 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A WTOC Investigates update into school zone speed cameras.

With school back in session across most of our area, we wanted to answer some of your questions about these cameras.

Most people in Savannah are not paying their speed camera citations.

That adds up to more than 20,000 unpaid tickets.

WTOC wanted to know do you really have to pay these fines and what happens, if you don’t?

Since Savannah Police activated cameras across roughly a dozen school zones city-wide last fall they’ve sent out more than 37,250 citations.

But get this.

As of June, most drivers have not paid-up.

Accounting for more than 2,044 unpaid citations.

That means only 4 in 10 drivers who got a citation have paid their fine.

More importantly to the city it represents more than 2 million uncollected dollars.

“Some people may just not want to pay it. It happens when we write tickets for no seatbelt, stop someone for speeding, or running a red light. People don’t want to pay it. But it will catch up to them,” Capt. Bradley Beddow said.

But, do these citations have any teeth?

Here’s the deal.

If you get a citation and don’t pay it you will not get points counted against your license.

But you’ll have to pay the fine before you can renew your car’s registration here in Georgia.

Beddow’s advice?

Just don’t speed.

“Everyone’s aware of what school zones have cameras. Everyone knows that school zones are strictly enforced - whether there’s a camera or an officer there. They’re marked clearly,” Beddow said.

A quick recap of how these cameras work across our area.

During school drop-off and pick-up meaning the hour before school starts, and the hour after school lets out there’s a reduced speed limit.

If you go 11 or more over that speed you’ll get a citation.

The first one is $100.

Each one after that is $150.

You’ll also get a ticket if you go 11 or more over the regular posted speed limit during the hours school is in session.

Beddow reiterated something SPD has told us before.

They think the cameras do make people slow down.

Making school zones safer, for everyone.

“The idea behind this is safety. We don’t want any wrecks. We don’t want kids getting hurt, we don’t want any adults getting hurt. We don’t want pedestrians’ hurt. We don’t want cars crashing into each other. It’s all about safety.”

These cameras are something we have looked into for a while. Earlier this year, we did a story on a faulty school zone speed camera on Savannah’s south side.