The city was required to shut off speed cameras in 120 school zones as a result of the NY State Senate ending its legislative session before bringing the issue up for a vote.
Mayor Bill de Blasio shared a first status report on Tuesday since the New York City’s school safety speed cameras were shut off last month and it shows that more than 130,000 drivers have been observed exceeding speed limits in school zones.
“We at DOT know that speeding is a leading cause of traffic deaths, and so we are closely monitoring what the loss of speed cameras does to street safety,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner (DOT) Polly Trottenberg. “But we already know this much: Over 130,000 drivers felt comfortable putting their fellow New Yorkers at grave risk, and because of the State Senate, they will pay no penalty for it.”
On July 25, the city was required to shut off speed cameras in 120 school zones and to stop issuing summonses as a result of the State Senate ending its legislative session without bringing the issue to the floor. Twenty mobile speed cameras will remain operational until the end of August. According to the DOT, which is still collecting speed data from deactivated cameras, 132,253 drivers have been observed through Friday, August 10 exceeding the speed limit by more than 10 miles per hour during school hours.
“In just over two weeks’ time since the cameras stopped issuing summonses, tens of thousands of drivers sped past schools. Even worse, because of State Senate inaction, these drivers will face absolutely no consequences for this lethal behavior,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The State Senate must end their vacation early and act before the first day of school, which is just weeks away. Our children’s lives depend on it.”
Legislation to continue the use of the cameras and also to expand their use to other schools passed the State Assembly and has the support of the governor. The bill has 35 co-sponsors in the Senate where only 32 votes are needed to pass any given bill. Nearly every senator who represents New York City has supported the bill, however, it has not been brought up for a vote by the Senate leadership.
“We warned that the deactivation of our speed cameras would result in more dangerous conditions on our most vulnerable streets,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “I can only pray that this data sounds an ear-piercing alarm that the State Senate cannot ignore, bringing everyone back to Albany to reauthorize this critical program.”
New York City schools will reopen on September 5.