The school zone speed camera program in NYC, once on the brink of extinction, will soon dramatically expand to cover every elementary and most middle and highs schools in the city.
A new bill passed by New York State legislators last week will add more than 600 new school zone speed cameras to 140 already in place. The cameras must be turned on between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays, a much broader time frame than the previous requirement of being operational only during school hours.
The bill defines a school zone as a radius about a quarter mile from a school building, entrance or exit.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who agreed to sign the bill into law, had originally called for the state to double the school zone speed camera program but the NY legislators’ bill greatly exceeds that proposal.
NYC school zone speed cameras were turned back on for the 2018-19 academic year after the state Senate initially failed to renew a law to keep them operational months earlier, a move that shocked parents, school officials and lawmakers alike.
Since being put in place in 2014, speed cameras have helped made city streets around schools safer, according to a report from the New York City’s Department of Transportation. The collected data shows a 55 percent decline in all fatalities in New York City school zones fitted with speed cameras and a 63 percent decrease in overall speeding in these areas there when schools are is in session.
“Injury crashes have dropped over 14 percent after the camera is activated, during all hours of the day, despite the fact that the cameras are deactivated during most of the year,” the DOT report also noted.
A New York City DOT found that more than 132,000 drivers violated the posted speed limit in the first two weeks after the speed camera legislation expired in 2018, and that number has likely only grown since.
NYC school zone speeders caught on camera face a $50 fine.