Driver questions school-zone traffic camera hours

SEATTLE -- There is no police officer and no warning; just a speeding ticket in the mail. That's the way it works in four Seattle school zones.

Broadview-Thomson K-8 School is one of those four Seattle schools with cameras that capture speeders. Flashing lights on the street outside the school warn drivers to slow down. Outside Broadview-Thomson, cameras also capture drivers if they exceed the 20-mph speed limit.

David Reidinger saw one of those cameras snapping a photo when he drove by some 90 minutes before the start of school.

"I noticed the flash, and I wasn't for sure if that was me or someone else," he said.

The flash was, in fact, for Reidinger, who received a ticket for $189 in the mail.

But the ticket came with a photo snapped at 7:51 a.m. School doesn't start until 9:20.

"I didn't feel that that was school zone at the time," said the North Seattle driver, who asked the Problem Solvers to investigate.

The Problem Solvers took his query to the city. The Department of Transportation and the Seattle Police Department both confirm the flashing lights and the speed-tracking cameras start working at 7:50 a.m

"There are actually 22 different programs here that serve 350 students who come to the school at 8," said Broadview-Thomson Principal Wyeth Jessee.

With so many students walking in the early hours, the principal specifically asked for the earlier start time on the cameras.

But Reidinger isn't sure the policy is so obvious to drivers.

"The hours that the cameras are on -- would be nice (if they match) the expectations of when the school zone is," he said.