SOUTH FULTON, Ga. (CBS46) -- Some drivers in South Fulton claim they are receiving excessive and inaccurate citations linked to school zone enforcement cameras.

In her 35 years of driving, Lynita Smith said she has never gotten so many tickets in such a short amount of time. A school zone speeding camera, near Wolf Creek Elementary School, clocked Smith going, at least 10 miles over the speed limit, more than a half dozen times, within a month span.

“I’ve been driving up and down this street for six years,” Smith said. “It’s just a speed trap. It almost seems blatant they’re targeting school zones for their revenue."

Smith has a daughter who attends Wolf Creek. She said each time she was cited for speeding, she was approaching the school and was already slowing down. She believes something is wrong with the camera.

“I would like to see the City of South Fulton, the police department, someone come check the cameras, check the videos, make sure it’s correlating with the speeds, make sure it’s running properly,” Smith added.

Candance Garcia is currently fighting three citations she received near another school in the area. She, like Smith, agree there’s amply warning that the enforcement cameras exist, but she said the signage is misleading. All three of her violations happened shortly after 3:20 p.m., which is outside the posted school hours.

“So, the light stops flashing, the posted time zone ends but the camera keeps ticketing,” Garcia said. “Accurate signage would be a huge help.”

What many drivers aren’t aware of is that Georgia law allows school zone enforcement cameras to record violations an hour before the start of school and an hour after school ends.

“I could care less about the dollars these cameras generate,” said City of South Fulton Police Chief Keith Meadows. “What I do care about is the compliance in our school zones.”

Meadows said the company they partner with, Blue Line Solutions, conducts internal checks on the city’s 16 school zone cameras every morning. They’re also calibrated once a year to make sure they’re accurate.

“We use LiDAR, which is the most accurate form of speed detection,” Meadows explained. “I get it. Nobody wants to get a citation, but our goal is to change behavior and we’re going to do whatever we can to make that happen."

Meadows said they sent out 48,000 warnings during their initial warning phase. The cameras were installed two years ago, during which Meadows said they saw a 96 percent reduction in speeding in school zones.

"I just need the citizens to understand our ability to leverage technology is not going stop with these school cameras," Meadows said. "We’re looking at other technology because our ultimate goal is to save lives."

Meadows said, to his knowledge, the cameras have not cited any drivers in the City of South Fulton, outside of the allotted time granted by law. 

“Just go 25 miles per hour, no matter what,” Garcia warned.

Unlike a traffic citation, from a uniformed officer, which can cost upwards of $450 and go a driver’s record, photo citations (civil) are usually $100 and do not go on a driver’s record. Drivers have up to 90 days to contest a citation.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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