School zone cameras activated at Cherokee High School

CANTON — Starting Monday, the City of Canton Police Department began using speed detection devices to enforce the speed limit at Cherokee High School, at 930 Marietta Hwy.

The speed detection uses automated school zone cameras that were installed this summer. Automated enforcement began last year at Hasty Elementary, and Teasley Middle School is in the process of being scheduled for the same program.

The program started after a nationwide spike in pedestrian fatalities over the past decade in which Georgia became one of the 5 deadliest states for pedestrians, with the seventh-highest fatality rate.

Also, the Canton Police Department conducted speed studies within all of its school zones, which produced over 3,000 speeding violations in a single day.

Automated enforcement is endorsed as a safety tool by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the National Safety Council.

Police Chief Stephen Merrifield said he hopes the cameras will reverse dangerous safety trends and encourage drivers to slow down.

“We are hopeful that Automated Enforcement will encourage drivers to slow down and obey the law,” Merrifield said in a statement. “Traffic fatalities are the number one cause of death for children aged 5-14 and for young adults (aged 15-29). Very minimal reductions in speed make the roads a lot safer, especially for children.”

Numerous publications have documented how slower speeds can save lives. One definitive study by the AAA Foundation found that children and young adults have less than a 10% risk of serious injury or death in an accident at 15 mph, but the risks climbed substantially with each 5 mph increment. At 35 miles per hour, the risk of severe injury or death is greater than 50%.

The Canton program will target the most egregious speeders exceeding more than eleven miles per hour over the posted school zone speed limit in school zones.

The cameras will operate from one hour before school begins until one hour after school ends, only on school days.

A sworn officer reviews and approves each violation before a citation is issued.

A 30-day warning period is in effect before any citations are issued. Residents with questions may call the Canton Police Department at 770-720-4883.