New speed enforcement technology working to make Bridgewater school zone safer

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 1:59 PM EDT
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BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) - During a five-day study last September, over 12,000 drivers traveled the Main Street corridor on Route 42 near Turner Ashby High Shool and John Wayland Elementary School while school zone lights were flashing. Over 1,000 of those drivers went over the speed limit by at least 10 miles per hour, and 50 of them went at least 20 over.

In an ordinance that was adopted in October to improve pedestrian and driver safety, the town and Bridgewater Police have installed photographic speed enforcement equipment in front of the schools. The equipment is only active when school zone lights are flashing between 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 to 4 p.m.

On March 20th, the town began a 30-day warning period where drivers who travel at 11 miles per hour or more over the 35-mile-per-hour speed limit will receive a warning. After that period, drivers who speed could receive a $100 civil penalty.

“I did calculate the school zone is 1,650 feet long if you decide to speed and go 50 in a 35, it only saves you 9.5 seconds, but it could save a life. So we just ask the community to slow down to just be safe,” Bridgewater police chief Phillip Read said.

Chief Read says the technology is part of a larger plan to improve pedestrian safety along Main street, which includes the addition of a new pedestrian crosswalk and signals at Turner Ashby this summer.