UnveilIing Bill to Expand the Speed Camera Program in NYC School Zones
Albany, NY — State Senator Jose Peralta, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and advocates, including Transportation Alternatives, unveiled a bill to crack down on speeding motorists by allowing 750 speed cameras around New York City schools. Under the proposal, the City could install an additional 610 speed cameras on top of the current 140 cameras permitted under the current law. State Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) is a co-prime sponsor of the bill.
As part of the proposal to improve pedestrian safety, the cameras will be in operation from 6 A.M. until 10 P.M., seven days a week. Currently, the use of these speed monitoring devices around city schools is limited to periods surrounding school hours and times of student activities. Additionally, the bill calls for the installation of warning signs within 300 feet of a camera, and it would mandate that a camera cannot be placed within 300 feet of a highway exit. The new legislation would expire on July 1, 2022.
The pilot program that allowed for the installation of 140 speed cameras approved in 2013 has been successful. Between 2014 and 2016, there has been a 63% decline in speeding violations issued at a school zone camera location. In addition, 81% of motorists who received a violation for speeding in school areas have not received a second ticket. Injuries to pedestrians, motorists and cyclists have declined by a 13% average at locations were cameras are located despite the fact that the cameras are turned off during weekends and nights.
“This bill will save lives and make our streets safer for everyone. Everyday, more than one million children, teachers and parents travel to and from school, so we must ensure we deter drivers from speeding to keep everyone safe. Speeding is a leading cause of traffic fatalities in New York City, and with this mechanism we will crack down on reckless drivers,” said Senator Peralta. “The safety of our children, and all New Yorkers, is a top priority. It is my hope we pass the measure and keep saving lives.”
“We have had too many children killed or injured on their way to school or heading home,” said Assemblymember Glick. “This measure is an essential element in providing a modicum of protection for New York school children. Speeding kills and it is crucial that drivers are trained not to speed, especially in school zones.”
“I thank Assembly Member Glick, Senator Peralta and the supporters of legislation that would expand the use of speed cameras in New York City,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Under Vision Zero, we have had three successive years of declining traffic fatalities, bucking national trends that show fatalities rising. Speed cameras have been instrumental to our success in slowing drivers down and saving lives — and so we look forward to getting this critical legislation passed this session.”
“New Yorkers overwhelmingly support more speed enforcement cameras near schools to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries,” said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. “In a citywide poll, 84% of all respondents support placing speed enforcement cameras near more city schools than the 140 locations currently allowed under state law. Why are they so popular? Because they work. Less speeding means fewer injuries, fewer deaths, and less severe crashes. It’s a simple, cost-effective, fair way to tackle a problem that is killing New Yorkers.”
“A speed safety camera looks at only one thing: whether a driver is going more than 10 miles per hour above the speed limit,” said Amy Cohen, founding member of Families for Safe Streets. “This is the fairest form of law enforcement, because cameras don’t care who you are, only whether you are breaking the law and endangering other people. Don’t want to pay $50? Then don’t speed, and you won’t get a ticket. Far from being a trap or a money-maker, these cameras are having a real impact on changing driver behavior and making streets safer for everyone.”
“This is a common-sense way to help protect children, families and all who live and work near city schools. Expanding the number of cameras and the size of the covered zones will increase safety and help protect lives,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
“Safer roads are essential to age-friendly communities, which are key to making New York City a more attractive place to age and retire. Seniors represent 17 percent of the city’s population but 47 percent of its traffic fatalities, and an AARP survey of 50+ voters in the city found two-thirds consider cars not yielding to pedestrians to be a problem,”said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP New York. “Something needs to be done. Speed cameras have proven to be an effective deterrent against dangerous driving, and AARP fully supports the legislation proposed by Mayor de Blasio and sponsored by Senator Peralta and Assembly Member Glick to vastly expand the use of speed cameras around city schools.”
“Bronx Health REACH believes all children deserve a safe and welcoming school environment. Speed safety cameras near schools have been proven to create a safer school environment and therefore should be expanded to more schools throughout New York City,” said Rachel Ingram from Bronx Health REACH.