In order for the city to slow down drivers and protect all users of the road, it must have every tool at its disposal, including the expansion of speed cameras in school zones.
Last year, state lawmakers passed important legislation authorizing the Department of Transportation to deploy speed cameras in 750 school zones. The cameras can be placed within a quarter-mile radius of a school building, and are active between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
According to data released by the city, these speed cameras are effective in slowing down motorists and preventing accidents. Speeding in school zones dropped 71.5 percent, and injuries overall have dipped 17 percent.
Total crashes in school zones fell 14 percent through 2018, while crashes with injuries also decreased nearly 11 percent. Across the board, crashes involving cars, pedestrians and cyclists all dropped.
Additionally, two-thirds of cars that received the $50 speed camera violation did not get another within the calendar year. During active enforcement hours, average daily speeding violations in high-traffic corridors like Hillside Avenue, Eastern Parkway and Francis Lewis Boulevard declined more than 75 percent.
It’s clear that speed cameras save lives, but can be more effective if they can issue tickets all hours of the day, not just between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on weekdays.
By making them operational at night and on weekends, drivers who believe they can zoom past school zones will have to think twice and slow down.
In 2018, 32 percent of injuries and 30 percent of people killed or seriously injured by crashes took place when the cameras were allowed to operate. By comparison, 31 percent of injuries and 33 percent of people killed or seriously injured occurred during weekends and nights.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Transportation are asking state lawmakers to amend the law to allow the speed cameras to be in effect all the time. The state legislature should listen and enact this life-saving change.