ALTAVISTA, Va. (WFXR) — There is a new tool in the Town of Altavista to keep children safe.

Starting on Monday, Dec. 13, a speed camera will be operational on Bedford Avenue in front of Altavista Combined School. It will serve as a reminder for people who forget, to slow down in the school zone.

Altavista Police Chief Thomas Merricks announced the program on Thursday, Dec. 9.

“It hits home to me because I have a daughter who walks to this school and I also have a wife who drives a bus that comes to this school,” said Merricks.

According to Merricks, speeding has been an issue in that school zone.

“We did a speed study and showed that during an hour time period that would have been about 15 violations just for one day,” said Merricks.

The new program is thanks to legislation signed in 2020. HB1442 allows a state or local law-enforcement agency to place and operate a photo speed monitoring device in school crossing zones for the purposes of recording violations of maximum speed limits in school zones and highway work zones. If a driver is caught going 10 miles over the speed limit, the camera will take a picture of the car. The police department will review and approve the citation and then mail the driver a $100 fine.

Merricks says these cameras come at no cost to taxpayers.

Drivers will receive warnings starting on Dec. 13. and police will issue tickets starting on Jan. 18, 2022.

A second location for these speed zone cameras is being proposed on Lynch Mill Road.

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