Oct. 8, 2019 By Allie Griffin
The city issued more than $10 million in speed camera violations in Queens alone in the first six weeks after the program’s expansion this summer.
During the first six weeks following the program’s July 11 expansion, the city mailed out more than 200,000 tickets to Queens drivers caught speeding in school zones — and more than 500,000 tickets across all five boroughs, according to city data.
At $50 a ticket, the city has made millions off the program’s massive expansion in less than two months.
The cameras take photos of drivers going more than 10 miles per hour above the speed limit in a school zone and then the city mails $50 violations to the registered owner of the car.
In Queens, drivers received 205,373 violations from July 11 to Aug. 22, according to the latest City data — that’s equal to $10,268,650 in less than two months.
For the year ending June 2019, drivers in Queens received 371,546 speed camera violations and paid $18,577,300 in fines. In just 43 days since the expansion launched, drivers in Queens have already paid more than half that amount.
In total, the city collected more than $28 million in the 43-day period or $455 per minute as the Staten Island Advance reported.
On July 11, the city began the program’s expansion to increase the number of school zones with cameras from 140 zones to 750 zones.
By the end of August, the number of school zones with cameras was at 360 and the Department of Transportation plans to install about 40 to 60 new speed cameras a month to increase the number of zones and reach its 750 goal by June 2020. There can be multiple cameras per zone.
In addition to the new cameras, the program expansion also mandated that speed cameras now operate year-round on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., including the summer and school breaks. That’s about double the program’s previous hours, in which cameras were only active during school hours.
The city first introduced speed cameras in 2013 with just 20 school zones. The next year, the state authorized the program to expand to 140 school zones.
The DOT says that the program has saved lives. From 2013 through 2018, the DOT reported a 60 percent drop in speeding infractions in school zones where the cameras had been installed. The agency also said there was a 21 percent decline in the number of people killed or severely injured in crashes within the zones.
The total cost of the massive expansion is $62 million and DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg has previously said she expects the program will pay for itself through the fines.
The original 140-zone speed camera program brought in $45 million in revenue in 2018. With more than $28 million already collected in less than two months since the expansion began, this year is likely to pass that number quickly.
Drivers in Queens received the second-most violations, behind drivers in Brooklyn, according to NYC Open Data. Queens was followed by the Bronx, Manhattan and then Staten Island. Together, Brooklyn and Queens account for nearly 75 percent of all speed camera violations.
While the DOT has not released where the speed cameras are installed, city data lists intersections where drivers have received speed camera violations.