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'A fair start': Macon-Bibb starts temporary grace period for school zone speeding offenders

The grace period lasts through November 18. Starting on Nov. 28, after school's Thanksgiving break, tickets will again be issued for every speed limit violation.

MACON, Ga. — Several of you might have recently received a speeding ticket in the mail.

Macon-Bibb County says they'll have a temporary grace period for people caught speeding in a school zone and got tickets from one of those cameras.

Several speed zone school cameras have been popping up throughout Macon and there's been some confusion on where they are and when they are operating, so the city has started a temporary grace period.

Some people were caught off guard last month when speed cameras in several school zones popped up.

"Any extra time that you'll give us to fix the situation, I think that is a fair start," Kenneth Cooper said.

Cooper says in the past two to three months, he has racked up about $150 worth of speeding fees. He says he paid them immediately.

"The places that they are in in Macon are kind of short notice, it seems. Very easy to run up on them without knowing they are there until it's a little too late," Cooper said.

Some people say the county sprung the cameras on the public without notice.

Now, county leaders are changing how tickets are issued when school's in session--at least for a few weeks.

"Right now, out of, fundamentally, fairness as a government, we needed to take a little step back, needed to let people who had multiple people who had tickets an opportunity to pay that first ticket and change those other tickets to a dismissal or a warning," Mayor Lester Miller said.

Miller says violating cars will be issued only one speeding ticket through November 18.

"But after this short grace period that we had, everyone should be sufficiently educated. Ignorance of the law is no excuse and they will begin after Thanksgiving break. They will have to follow the law, which means they will have to follow the speed limit," Miller said.

Miller says when you see the lights blinking, reduce your speed. You can only be fined for speeding if you are going more than 10 over the speed limit.

"This is not a money grab on behalf of the county. We wish we wouldn't get any money in and people would just stop speeding through school zones. That would be the ultimate goal," Miller said.

"There has to be a way to enforce the law by not being a nuisance to the public and citizens that commute every day in these neighbors. Inflation, I don't have to say that. It's high enough. We don't need excessive tickets on top of that when we are trying to put food on the table. I don't have to I think if we police ourselves a little and be mindful of the school zones and our neighbors in the community, then maybe things like this will start to get better, because we won't need as many," Cooper said.

Folks who have received more than one ticket need to pay only one. If you've already paid more than one ticket, the county will issue a refund this year.

The grace period lasts through November 18. Starting on November 28, after the Thanksgiving school break, tickets will again be issued for every speed limit violation.

Cameras have been installed around Northeast High School and Appling Middle School, Rutland Middle and High School, and Weaver Middle, Westside High, Ballard-Hudson Middle, Ingram-Pye Elementary and Southwest High.

"Some people I think honestly didn't think we would be enforcing the law, and it came as a surprise to them, and not only these cameras up there giving tickets. They are expected to pay these tickets, so we wanted to go through another educational piece and have a small grace period to make sure people are educated here before Thanksgiving, and then, we will go back to normal just as soon as that break ends," Miller said.

Eventually, the county says they'll be installed around every public school.

The county also says the first citation will be $100, and each subsequent citation will be $150. Money collected from these fines will only be used to fund local law enforcement or public safety initiatives.

Citations will not show up on a person’s driving record nor be used for “points” with their insurance. All citations are reviewed by the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office to ensure its compliance with Macon-Bibb’s code.


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