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Monday breakdown: Speed cameras near Smithsburg schools

March 18, 2013
  • Signs placed a short distance away from the schools along North Main Street in Smithsburg show that the school zone speed limit of 20 mph is photo-enforced between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
By C.J. Lovelace

A reader inquired about the operation of speed cameras near Smithsburg schools.

Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., resident Elizabeth Farmer, who frequently drives through the school zone on her way to work in Washington County, had questions related to the signs notifying motorists about the cameras and the posted speed limit.

Signs placed a short distance away from the schools along North Main Street show that the school zone speed limit of 20 mph is photo-enforced between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Another sign — placed right near the entrance of the schools — displays the 20 mph speed limit, with the words “when flashing.” That sign has blinking yellow lights above and below it to signify when the cameras are in operation.

A rig outfitted with north- and south-facing cameras is situated on the side closer to downtown Smithsburg.

“The other speed cameras around the city (Hagerstown) take pictures of speeding cars and ticket them after school hours,” Farmer wrote in a letter to The Herald-Mail.

Farmer wanted to know if the speed cameras in Smithsburg were issuing tickets outside of the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., as shown on the posted signs.

“If so, that sign needs to be taken down,” Farmer wrote.

Smithsburg Police Chief George L. Knight Jr. said his department operates the cameras and tickets are issued only between the posted hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“Each jurisdiction can decide when to operate their cameras,” Knight said.

During weekly school hours, the speed cameras will photograph and issue tickets to motorists traveling 12 mph or faster (32 mph or more) over the posted school zone speed limit of 20 mph, he said.

Any other time, Knight said the speed limit in that area is 30 mph.

For comparison, speed cameras placed in school zones around Hagerstown operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. Those cameras also ticket drivers traveling at least 12 mph faster than the posted speed limit.

— Compiled by C.J. Lovelace

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Editor's note: This story was edited March 18 to correct the hours of operation of speed cameras placed in school zones around Hagerstown.



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