Andrew M Cuomo, New York State’s Governor, has signed legislation to reinstate and expand New York City’s speed camera program that operates in controlled zones around schools.
Signed on May 12, 2019, the bill will increase the number of authorized school speed zones from 140 to 750, extend the hours of operation of the speed cameras to weekdays between 6am and 10pm, and ensure that city authorities will prioritize the deployment of the new cameras to areas that are highlighted by speed and crash data. The new legislation (S.4331/A.6449) reinstates and expands a bill originally signed by the Governor in 2013, authorizing the city to develop the program using camera technology to record and enforce speeding violation in school zones. Upon the program’s expiration in July 2018, and after the Republican-controlled Senate failed to extend the authority before the end of the legislative session, Cuomo signed an executive order in August allowing the city to impose the same fines authorized under the expired law and access data from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to carry out the program for the 2018-19 school year.
Since passing an initial demonstration program in 2013, New York locations with cameras saw speeding violations drop more than 60% and traffic fatalities drop by 55%. Following the activation of the cameras in August, the number of people killed or severely injured in crashes in school zones with speed cameras declined by 21%, and the rate of daily violations for excessive speeding has declined by over 60%.
“Something as simple as walking to and from school can be the most dangerous part of the day, especially in this city with this complexity and this density,” said Cuomo. “We have learned it the hard way. We have lost too many people, especially too many young people. We have to do better, and we can do better. This bill will increase the number from 140 to 750 speed cameras in the city, extend the hours of operation of the speed cameras, and will mandate that the city prioritize placement of the cameras by speed and crash data. It’s common sense. It works, and it is the right thing to do.”
New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, commented, “Speed cameras are keeping our kids safe and saving lives. We needed to protect more kids at more schools and now we have the power to do it. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie and the entire legislature for doing right by our kids and helping make our city streets even safer.”
Assembly Speaker, Carl Heastie, said, “The speed camera program in New York City has proved to be a lifesaver; reducing speeding, distracted driving and dangerous accidents in school zones. I am glad that we are finally reinstating and expanding this program, making the streets are a safer place for our all of our students, parents, school staff and pedestrians.”