NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The city's mobile speed enforcement program caught more than 17,000 violations during the one-month pilot period earlier this year, and 11,000 of those happened in school zones.
"That's alarming for most citizens, and that's why we have those cameras in those areas," City Communications Director Tyronne Walker said.
It's why the city decided to put "photo enforcement" warning signs on more than 130 school zones across New Orleans, in effect warning all drivers that the school zones could see beefed-up enforcement using the city's 10 mobile speed units.
"Anything we can do to slow people down and let these kids live in and be in a safe environment would be great," said Mid-City resident and grandfather Charley Richard.
Some drivers think the possibility of mobile cameras might be enough to curb drivers who only obey school zones with permanent cameras.
"I think people do try to game it, you know? They look to see if its photo enforced and they'll obey it and if not. Maybe it's just a scare tactic," said Charles Dyal, whose daughter racked up a numerous tickets when she started driving. "My daughter was a slow learner, so she got about $1,000 with the tickets and to be honest, I don't like paying it, but she was speeding and so actually since then, since that time, she hasn't got a ticket in over a year. So I guess it works."
In fact, the city said its program is already curbing bad habits.
"In 93 percent of the cases, people pay their tickets, and they pay on time and they never get cited again. So this is about changing behaviors," Walker said.
Others said even without the cameras, the signs are enough to get them to hit the brakes.
"I don't want to pay a 100 and whatever dollar ticket, so anything I can do. And because we have grandkids in school, it's especially important to us, but even so it's an automatic reflex," Richard said.
The city said every school zone will have the warning signs in place and the cameras will rotate to school zones throughout the city.