Mayor Bloomberg and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced enforcement of speed cameras near school locations will take effect on the first day of the school year, Monday, September 9th. The Administration pressed for passage of State legislation to approve the use of speed cameras in New York City for more than a decade, and this year legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and State Senator Jeff Klein was approved by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The law provides the City with a significant tool in its efforts to continue to reduce traffic fatalities citywide and curb speeding near schools. The last five years have been the safest since traffic fatality records began being kept in 1910, due to efforts including the use of red-light cameras, pedestrian countdown signals, Neighborhood Slow Zones, aggressive enforcement of traffic laws, safety education campaigns and corridor and intersection redesigns. Traffic fatalities have decreased by 30 percent since 2001, but speeding remained the contributing factor in 81 fatal traffic crashes in 2012, roughly 30 percent, and fatal hit-and-run crashes increased by 31 percent between 2010 and 2012. There is a 70 percent chance a child will be killed if hit by a car at 40 miles per hours, but an 80 percent chance that child survives if hit by a vehicle travelling 30 miles per hour, the City’s speed limit. The law allows the City to implement a speed camera demonstration program at 20 locations within a quarter mile of schools in high crash locations and it allows the City to rotate the cameras to school locations across the five boroughs. The Mayor and Commissioner were joined by NYPD Chief of Transportation James Tuller today at W.E.B. Dubois High School on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a candidate to receive speed camera technology nearby due to a high crash rate in its vicinity.
“Keeping streets safe for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians is one of the most important public safety challenges any government faces,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our streets are the safest they have ever been, due in large part to our enforcement efforts and innovative traffic engineering that have brought traffic fatalities to record lows. Curbing speeding around schools will help us continue to make our City’s streets safer for everyone.”
“Over the last six years, we’ve kept an unrelenting focus on the safety of our most vulnerable New Yorkers, and with speed cameras we’re now putting an even sharper focus on safety near our schools,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Motorists who play fast and loose on our streets need to learn the critical lesson that the New York City’s speed limit is 30 mph for a reason, and that it’s literally the difference between life and death.”
“Thanks to these new cameras, students across New York City will return to much safer school zones,” said State Senator Jeffrey Klein. I'm proud that my colleagues in the legislature answered the call of Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Sadik-Khan, because even five miles per hour can make the difference between life and death for a child. These speed cameras will save lives—that’s why I'm so pleased that they’ll be up and running for the start of this school year.”
“Speed cameras will save lives and alter behavior,” said State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick. “It is legislation that will benefit pedestrians and drivers.”
DOT will begin the five-year program with a combination of fixed and mobile cameras at unspecified locations, which will be determined based upon factors such as crash and injury data, rates of speed and road geometry. During the initial weeks of the program and in order to send a message to speeders, DOT will only issue warning notices to motorists found on camera to be speeding in excess of 10 or more miles above the posted speed limit before eventually issuing $50 fines for the offense. Violations would be issued to the vehicle owner and will be adjudicated by the New York Parking Violations Bureau. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Jeff Klein of the Bronx and Assembly Member Deborah Glick of Manhattan, was passed on June 22 and signed into law by the Governor on August 1st.
DOT is currently allowed by state law to operate Red Light Cameras at 150 intersections, which have led to dramatic reductions in red-light running and violations for doing so. In addition, DOT now has 14 Neighborhood Slow Zones installed or scheduled for implementation this year across the City and received nearly 175 applications from communities for this program since its inception two years ago. Though pedestrian fatalities dropped 20 percent between 2002 and 2012, DOT continues to also in stall pedestrian countdown signals and locations across the five boroughs, with 3,600 intersections currently equipped. As part of a call earlier this year for the State Legislature to pass the legislation, DOT released a map earlier this year showing 100 locations at which 75 percent of vehicles were documented to be speeding.
New York City now joins over 133 jurisdictions in the nation in using speed cameras to save lives.