Hays County Commissioners Court Ends School Zone Safety Pilot Program
Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – Crediting increased public awareness about the need to obey school zone speed limits that resulted in a dramatic drop in speeding citations, the Hays County Commissioners Court Tuesday ended its pilot program with American Traffic Solutions’ (ATS) School Zone Safety Camera Program early. The program originally was set to end in February 2017, but after discussions with ATS, both parties mutually agreed to end it early (September 30) with no penalty or fees.
“According to the Constable’s Office, in the first three weeks of the program in 2015, 70 -plus citations were issued to drivers speeding more than six miles over the speed limit in school zones in Precinct 3,” Commissioner Will Conley told the Court Tuesday. “In the first three weeks of the 2016 school year, only six were issued.” Both he and Precinct 4 Commissioner Ray Whisenant agreed that the program had done its job in promoting voluntary compliance with school zone speed limits without placing a financial burden on taxpayers, which would have happened if the County had added personnel to monitor school zones.
The highly publicized program employed a logoed, unstaffed van provided by ATS that was equipped with advanced 2D ranging radar technology and two high-resolution color cameras to monitor vehicle speeds through school zones at several schools in Precincts 3 and 4 where law enforcement and school officials observed safety issues caused by drivers failing to slow down.
During the first year of the program, ATS retained 70 percent of the revenue from the $150 citations and covered the cost of the camera-equipped vans. During the second year, ATS received 40 percent. The Court noted that along with the drop in revenue administering the program was more time-consuming than expected. At the outset of the program, the County earmarked its share of revenue for additional, future school zone safety programs and tools, which are currently being considered.