In fact, we found some drivers there hit with three, four or even six tickets for speeding outside schools.
With the new school year starting, we investigated.
On Monday, we spent some time outside Thoreau Park Elementary School. We saw traffic cameras flash while catching speeders and generating tickets.
A state report recently showed traffic cameras in Parma brought in $2.9 million in fines from speeders over two years.
The city says it only uses the cameras in six school zones during school hours.
But, instead of seeing a drop in speeders with the cameras, Parma police have seen more.
Parma police showed us how the school zone traffic cameras issued more than 10,000 tickets in just the last half of last year. In the first half of this year, there were more than 12,000 tickets issued.
“The number of tickets are still increasing even though we’ve had this program,” said Lt. Dan Cyriak. “That’s what I really don’t understand. They’re established school zones. These buildings have been there for years. There’s plenty of signage out there. Flashing lights. Plenty of warning to let drivers know that they’re entering a school zone.”
Consider what else we found while looking at how these speed cameras have led to so many tickets just in school zones: We checked a court docket for people fighting their tickets. One driver alone is fighting six tickets. Three others are fighting four tickets. Someone else is fighting three tickets. More people are fighting two tickets each.
We shared that with the parents of a child just beginning kindergarten.
“People need to be more responsible especially around school zones,” Jennifer Ratino said.
In the meantime, we tracked down one of the drivers fighting two tickets.
He claims he was clocked by cameras when school was not in session.
“It was 27 miles an hour the first time. 34 miles an hour the second time,” he said. “I didn’t even know they had ‘em until I drove by there. After I got the tickets, I drove by and see they had cameras installed.”
In Parma, the fines are $120 for up to 9 mph over the school speed limit and $220 for anything above that.
Police believe the traffic cameras still serve some benefit, even as more people are caught speeding in those school zones. Police say the cameras allow them to free officers for traffic enforcement in other places.
Despite all of the signs about the cameras and all of the tickets issued, we still met people in one of those school zones who told us they didn’t realize the traffic cameras were there.