Slow down, New York City drivers! The new public school year starts Thursday and the city’s speed camera program is at full, expanded capability to try to improve street safety.
The school zone speed camera program in NYC, on the brink of extinction a year ago, has been increased almost 10-fold since 2018. It now includes more than 2,000 cameras in 750 locations, up from 140 last summer, within a quarter mile of a school building entrance or exit. According to The New York Times, this gives New York City the largest urban network of automated speed cameras in the United States.
The cameras will be operating between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays, a much longer time than in the past when they only worked during school hours. Drivers exceeding the speed limit during operation will be mailed a ticket for $50 fine.
NYC school zone speed cameras were turned back on for the start of 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 slow down traffic on streets around schools and made them 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.