No refunds for automated school zone speeding tickets

The school zone speed cameras on 168th Street SW

There’s been some news coverage lately of a Lynnwood driver whose automated school zone speeding ticket was dismissed after he appealed to Snohomish County Superior Court. The driver, Paul Cesmat, claimed the signage was improper. The sign instructed drivers to slow down when the lights were flashing, but the lights were on another sign down the road. (Watch the KING 5 story here.)

Lynnwood city officials tell me they have no plans to dismiss other tickets under similar circumstances.

City Prosecutor James Zachor says they dismissed the appeal because it was not cost effective to spend numerous attorney hours on research, writing and arguing an appeal for a $124 civil traffic infraction.

“The city’s position was, and still is, that the signage was proper and met State and Federal guidelines.  The City also feels that it would have prevailed had the appeal gone to argument,” Zachor said.

The signs have since been changed, and the prosecutor said it had nothing to do with this case.

“The city of Lynnwood first implemented its photo-enforced school zones around October of 2009.  The City, after reviewing this program, made several changes to include changing the signage as well as the times when the school zones would be photo enforced,” Zachor said. “All changes made were made in an attempt to improve awareness and safety. There was no correlation between Mr. Cesmat’s appeal and the changes.”

Zachor says the appellate judge did not rule that the signage in place when Cesmat received got his ticket was improper.  “The only ruling regarding the signage in Lynnwood’s photo-enforced school zones is that Lynnwood Municipal Court has held that the signage does satisfy State and Federal guidelines and is therefore enforceable.”

  1. I hate the ‘eye in the sky’ big brother style cameras, but look, it is a school zone. It is simple enough to slow down, or else take a different route.

    So while I hate the cameras, we wouldn’t need them if people just followed the rules like responsible adults. (Yeah, I know I am dreaming if I think that will ever happen.)

    1. The problem is that this is just another example of children being exploited by cynical and greedy politicians in an effort to sucker gullible citizens into bending over the barrel, lubing up, and spreading ’em wide for Big Bro to have his way.

      “Do it For The Children!!!” is the usual way of ramrodding crap through the political machine. In this case, it’s crap that will allow the city to essentially defraud motorists so as to drum up revenue. This city seems to be committed to doing precisely that as often and as severely as possible.

      The redlight gotcha cams drum up revenue by virtue of sped-up caution cycles so as to entrap motorists and generate revenue.

      These school-zone cams are accompanied by “warning” signs that are deliberately obscure: slow down when flashing… but the flashing doesn’t occur until dozens or hundred of feet down the road, yet the enforcement zone takes place from the warning sign on — a flagrant attempt to entrap and defraud.

      1. My, my, you sound like a seriously (therapy maybe?) angry person! Perhaps you’re one of the people that think all regulatory signs pertain to everyone else but yourself and maybe have gotten a ticket (or 2)? Calm down, I don’t think anyone is being suckered into doing anything except obeying the law. And it’s not just our city, I do believe it’s a nationwide law.

        1. Sorry, driverk, my driving record is almost perfect and I’m well aware of regulatory signs and signals, etc. Having done some time in a government department of transportation, I’m also aware of how they’r regularly tweaked in order to dupe or sucker drivers into making an honest but technically valid mistake — such as advertising that they speed limit is in effect when the lights are flashing… The clear implication is that the reduction in speed limit commences where the lights are flashing and that is precisely what 9 out of 10 motorists will assume… much to their chagrin and much to the city’s delight when it comes time to tally up the revenue they’ve been bilked out of which goes right into the city’s coffers.

          If you’re not a “seriously (therapy maybe?) angry person” at that kind of behavior by your government, then you’re definitely a “seriously (remedial education, maybe?) naive person” who needs to get a clue about Civics 101 and the proper role of government.

  2. My feelings on the traffic cameras aside, is anyone else scared that we have blind idiots driving around that can’t see these lights just a ways down the road? Call me crazy, but I like to look around when I drive. Not seeing the lights . . . what a lame joke.

  3. They may say that the signs were placed appropriately, but I disagree. I have not seen the change, but I am assuming that they put lights on the warning sign. Most of the time I could see the crosswalk lights, but not if there was heavy traffic that included school busses or trucks.

    My argument is that the same signal (crosswalk lights) means something different within the same city. Just down the street there is a crosswalk on Veteran’s Way with lights that indicate that someone has pushed the button and is in the street, so those lights mean “stop, there is a pedestrian in the crosswalk”. A 3 minute drive from that crosswalk, near the school the crosswalk lights mean “the speed limit is 20mph because there are/may be children present”. Frustrating

  4. Lynnwood is such a crap hole. It will always be the armpit of society. I don’t understand a city with so many cops and cameras, yet I still dont feel safe. With all the tickets issued in this city on a daily basis how are they lacking city funds? They should just blow up the city and start over.

  5. I live right near this photo-enforced school zone. I have a high schooler and 2 elementary schoolers who walk or ride bikes through here every day. I have lived in this neighborhood for almost 10 years, so I can tell you that photo enforcement WORKS. People are driving much slower and safety has improved. Many times I see people pulled over, getting tickets for not following the law. And who are the majority of these people? PARENTS and HIGH SCHOOLERS that I recognize! There are 4 schools within a half mile here, Meadowdale HS, Meadowdale MS, Meadowdale Elem., and Beverly. For heavens sake…stop griping and SLOW DOWN. I am grateful that the city of Lynnwood is using it’s resources to keep my children safe.

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