March 21, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
The New York State Senate and Assembly passed a bill on Tuesday that will establish the use of speed cameras in 750 school zones across the five boroughs.
The legislation, which Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign into law in days, is an extension of a previously passed 2013 bill that authorized a five-year pilot program of 140 speed cameras in 20 school zones throughout the city. The 2013 bill expired last July after the then Republican-majority State Senate failed to pass a reauthorization that would have increased the camera total to 290.
The cameras were not out of use for very long, however, with Cuomo declaring the dangerous road conditions near schools to be a state of emergency in August. He issued an executive order to restart the use of the cameras.
The new legislation will cover 750 school zones across the city—which will include every public school zone citywide—that will be monitored by the speed cameras between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., Monday through Friday. The city will be required to install signs alerting motorists that a speed camera is in use—something the city says is a deterrent for speeding.
“The safety of children and students is one of our top priorities,” said State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “We saw from New York City’s demonstration program that speed cameras in school zones dramatically decrease the number of infractions, preventing deadly accidents. I’m glad that this year we could work together with our Senate colleagues to pass legislation that will help save the lives of schoolchildren and other pedestrians.”
During the five-year pilot program, the Department of Transportation found a 60 percent drop in speeding infractions in school zones where the cameras had been installed.
“This is a huge victory for safe streets,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We applaud the Assembly and the Senate for helping us tackle avoidable tragedies on our streets by dramatically expanding our speed camera program. This is another key tool that we will use to aggressively pursue Vision Zero and to save lives across the city.”
Local organizations celebrated the passing of the bill on Tuesday, hailing the life-saving capabilities of the speed cameras.
“As we know all too well, speeding is a deadly act and has to stop,” said Amy Cohen, founding member of Families for Safe Streets. “We have an epidemic and speed safety cameras are a huge part of the cure. We’re grateful to Senator Goundardes and Assemblymember Glick for taking up this cause and being champions for safer streets.”