KAUFMAN COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - School zone cameras have been a topic of debate since their announcement in Smith County on Monday. There is only one example of the system that is coming to the county already in effect -- in Kaufman County.
County Judge Bruce Wood has a unique perspective in the school zone debate, being a former educator and superintendent in Kaufman County. He said the Kaufman Independent School District came to him suggesting the program catching speeders and another program that mounts cameras on school buses catching people who ignore bus stop signs.
He said the program is not about money; instead it is about keeping children safe after several examples of how dangerous the areas can be in their county.
"Kaufman unfortunately had a student back three years ago that was struck and killed getting off a Kaufman school bus," Judge Wood said.
The county has two school zone speed monitoring 'towers' and three school zone speed monitoring vehicles. That is the same ratio that Smith County will have once it implements the system.
The fine for speeding in a school zone in Kaufman County is $150. Since the program was launched in the Fall of 2014, the cameras have caught some major violators.
"We had a person the first few days of operation," Wood said. "That went through that school zone [in the Scurry-Rosser area] at 80 mph during a 35 mph school zone."
Judge Wood believes if the system works once, the county's efforts are worth it.
"If it saves one child's life in my opinion its worth all of the effort to make it a reality in Kaufman County," Wood said.
Smith County's program is set to be tested over the summer.