LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Eustis is kicking off its new school safety initiative, the first of its kind in Florida.

The county and city of Eustis installed a new speed camera system on the corner of Orange Avenue and North Prescott Street, near Eustis Elementary School, to crack down on speeding in the school zone.

During the unveiling Wednesday morning, officials passed out flyers with information regarding how the program will work — reminding drivers to slow down and pay attention in school zones. 

What You Need To Know

  • Eustis launches the start of a new speed camera system in the school zone near Eustis Elementary School

  • Four cameras will be set up across different locations in the city

  • There is a 30-day grace period starting Wednesday, where violators will only receive a warning

  • After the 30-day grace period, violators will be issued a $100 citation

Eustis Police Chief Craig Capri said it’s a major concern for not only students, but parents and other pedestrians. He hopes to curb speeding all together by hitting violators in the wallet.

“The number one reason is to save lives,” Capri said in a previous interview with Spectrum News 13. “Parents are counting on us to protect their kids. Speeding is prevalent. We all make mistakes and speed. I get it. But there is a zero-tolerance speeding in a school zone.”

Spectrum News 13 previously covered the police department’s efforts last year to bring the speed camera system to Lake County. That’s when they learned the cameras will track the speed of drivers in school zones, but only during the school hours; not on holidays, school breaks or weekends.

If a driver gets caught speeding on camera during school hours, the camera will capture a photo of the vehicle. An officer will review the violation before determining if the driver should receive a citation.

In a press conference Wednesday morning, Capri shared his excitement about the camera system program beginning. Police will install cameras at four different school zones in Eustis. The first being near the elementary school.

Capri said there have been several instances where distracted and speeding drivers hit older students in school zones.

A speed study also revealed a number of people speeding in school zones when yellow lights were flashing, with some of those drivers going 70 mph or more.

“Over the last few years, we’ve had several students hit in the school zones at Eustis High School. Had that happened in our elementary school zone, those kids would not be as lucky as those high school students were. They would be at one of our local cemeteries,” said Eustis Mayor Michael Holland.

Lake County school camera system (Spectrum News/Jaclyn Harold)

Holland, Capri and other city officials emphasized Wednesday morning that speeding is an issue the city does not take lightly and that this program shows their dedication to putting an end to it.

One driver agreed as she headed to drop off her grandson, sharing that this was long overdue.

“This is a good thing. This what we’ve been waiting on,” said Pam Simmons. “They come through here hauling a**, and they don’t even respect the man (crossing guard) and they most definitely don’t respect our children.”

The program will come at no cost to taxpayers. Instead, the drivers caught speeding will fully fund the program.

There will be a grace period over the next 30 days, where speed violators will only receive a warning. After the 30 days is over, speed violations will be a $100 citation. 

Officials will post signage in the areas where the cameras are located, and they will operate at the times listed below:

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays are early release, so the cameras will run from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.