Northern Virginia to install speed cameras to make school zones safer

It's back-to-school season in the DMV, and more districts in Virginia are using speed cameras to try and make school zones safer.

Last week, Fairfax announced they would be adding more cameras, and Wednesday night, Alexandria said they would be following suit.

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Alexandria has money approved for five cameras and this fall, a study will be done to determine the best places to put them.

"We want to evaluate how it's working, so we’re looking at, you know, should we put some of these cameras on 4-lane roads and some on 2-lane roads, so we can get a better understanding of how well it works and in which areas," says Alexandria Deputy Transportation Director Hillary Orr.

Fairfax City announced earlier this week they’d be adding cameras as part of a pilot program.

"I believe that it will increase safety for all of the kids that live around here and particularly kids because so many cross the road," says Malick Keita who lives near a school zone.

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Alex Quistberg is a researcher at Drexel University in Philadelphia who studied whether or not cameras in school zones were effective. The short answer? Yes.

"Those traditional things of the flashing markers and beacons, they can help warn people that something is coming up, but some people, especially now with cell phones, may not pay attention to those or notice them as much as they might have before," says Drexel University Injury Epidemiologist Alex Quistberg.

The changes come after a Virginia law was passed in 2020 which allows speed cameras only in work zones and school zones. The law says the maximum fine is 100 dollars per ticket.