School zone speeders getting out of tickets in Seattle neighborhood

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SEATTLE - Back to school means more traffic, and school zone speed cameras are back up and running, except in the Montlake neighborhood, where drivers have been beating tickets on a technicality.

KIRO 7's Jeff Dubois started looking into the issue when a driver told him his ticket had been dismissed by the Seattle City Attorney's Office because of "evidentiary issues.”

Dubois and a news crew came by 24th Avenue East Montlake Elementary School Wednesday to get video of the photo enforcement signs for the first day of school, but the cameras weren't turned on.

According to the City Attorney's Office, under the regulations for photo enforcement, the camera speed zone must have a yellow crosswalk sign.

If it doesn't, then crossing guards have to be present and in plain view, in order to enforce tickets issued using the camera.

But since the cameras were installed last fall, the attorney's office has thrown out dozens of tickets because the crossing guards can't be seen in the photos.

The Seattle Department of Transportation originally said it wasn’t an issue and that traffic experts disagree with the City Attorney's interpretation of the rules.

But now, the department has decided to keep the cameras off until the disagreement is worked out.

Anne Wessells was surprised the cameras weren't working the first day of school on Wednesday, and says the two departments need to figure things out to keep school kids safe.

"Unless we can walk and bike safely, we're not going to be a livable city. That walk-ability doesn't come when people are going 40,” said Wessells.

The two departments have meetings scheduled to resolve the issue. SDOT might change the camera angle to better see the crossing guards, or post a new crosswalk sign.