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Spokane traffic cams show more drivers running red lights, speeding through school zones

SPOKANE, Wash. - Traffic cameras in Spokane are capturing hundreds of drivers running red lights and speeding in school zones. In the course of just 30 days, city photo red light and speed cameras together, found nearly 2,000 violations.

Photo speed cameras, alone, caught more than 500 violations. That's nearly 200 more than they found last year, making it about nine more fines each day. For red light cameras, the intersection at Freya and Third Street fined just under 230 drivers.

The intersection between Freya and Third Street takes the top spot for people running red lights with 228 traffic violations in between December 16 last year to January 15. The Browne and Sprague intersection came in third for highest violations in Spokane with 121. And the Browne and Third Street intersection was the fourth highest with 118 traffic violations. 

Add it all up, and that is more than 1,878 drivers breaking traffic laws. Which, is a significant increase from last year, when the cameras only caught about 1,400 drivers, during the same span of time. 

Spokane Police said the purpose of traffic cameras is to not only keep drivers safe, but keep pedestrians and our kids safe as well. Several of the cameras are in school zones.

With the potential of hitting a child on top of a fine, police can't figure out why anyone would take that risk. 

"The fact that we have numbers as high as they are somewhat shocks me that people know these cameras are there - but yet, they're continuing to run the red lights. They're continuing to speed through the school zones, the park zones," said Officer John O'Brien, Spokane Police Department. 

According to the latest numbers, between December 16 last year and January 15, red light cameras fined 1,313 drivers for not stopping at the lights. There are seven more on top of that, still waiting to be processed.

"Most of these locations, if not, all of them have have had not had major or significant changes to the environment. So it's nothing new, it's just that people aren't abiding by the rules of the road," Officer O'Brien said.

The numbers are a significant increase from last year, 205 more. Which police find confusing, because the majority of photo spots aren't new and most traffic lights have visible signage to let drivers know there is a camera watching.

"Locations are not secret. But we would encourage you at every intersection - controlled or uncontrolled. Be cautious. Take the time to get there safe," Officer O'Brien said.

Since most cameras are in school zones, they're asking drivers to consider this spike in numbers their warning and slow down. 

"Most of the destinations that people are traveling to don't outweigh the safety of our children," Officer O'Brien said.

There were more speed cameras added in North Spokane school zones just last month, including Ridgeview Elementary. So far only written warnings have been issued, but that will end this Friday. From there on out, drivers will be fined.


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