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Vision Zero: Mayor de Blasio Announces New Speed Camera Law is now in Effect

July 11, 2019

With law taking effect today, the reach and impact of speed cameras has doubled, as hours and days of operation dramatically expand; DOT is installing hundreds of new cameras at an unprecedented pace, including along crash-prone East Tremont Avenue in the Bronx

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio announced today that New York City’s new speed camera law is now in effect.  To mark the first day of the expanded program, New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) officials were joined by advocates and elected officials at a new speed camera near P.S. 28 along East Tremont Avenue in the Mt. Hope section of the Bronx.  East Tremont Avenue is a Vision Zero Priority Corridor, which ranks in the top 10% of Bronx corridors for number of people killed or severely injured (KSI).  Despite the location’s crash history and proximity to a school, it had not previously qualified for a speed camera.

“This is a major step toward our goal of achieving Vision Zero,” said Mayor de Blasio.  “Speed cameras are an invaluable tool that help us save the lives of countless children every year.  We’re sending a message to all our motorists: drive at a safe speed or pay the price.” 

“There is no better place to kick off the new speed camera law than outside a school on a busy street like East Tremont Avenue,” said DOT Bronx Borough Commissioner Nivardo Lopez.  “East Tremont has seen far too many crashes, and at the same time, we know schools like PS 28 are busy throughout the summer -- and so having a camera that protects kids here year-round will be invaluable.   We once again thank the Mayor, the Governor and our legislators for getting us here today.”

“Speed cameras have proven to be an effective tool for reducing speeding and ensuring that drivers operate their vehicles at safe speeds, which in turn reduces the likelihood of collisions,” said NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan. “The new speed camera on East Tremont Ave near PS 128 will therefore help increase the safety not only of students and teachers at the school, but of all road users as well. This expansion of the speed camera program is another step towards reaching our Vision Zero goals. I am grateful to the Mayor, Governor, our lawmakers in the City Council and in Albany, the Department of Transportation, and all our Vision Zero partners for bringing about this expansion.”   

“Nothing is more important than student safety, and the expansion of this effective tool means our kids and our schools are safer. This is a life-saving law for our schools and communities and I thank Mayor de Blasio and Albany leaders for their steadfast leadership on behalf of our students, staff and families,” said School Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.

In May, Mayor de Blasio had announced that over the next two years, DOT would rapidly scale up its speed-camera program, activating new school speed zones Citywide at a rate of about 40 per month through 2019, and 60 per month in 2020, expecting to reach each of the law’s maximum 750 school zones by June, 2020 (zones are permitted to have multiple cameras). 

A Stronger Speed Camera Law: Authorized by state law, school-zone speed cameras have been in operation in New York City since 2014, with data showing that speeding in zones with a camera declines by more than 60 percent, with over 80 percent of violators not receiving a second ticket. The new speed-camera law was passed by the state legislature in March and was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on May 12th. The new law taking effect today expands the maximum number of school zones from 140 to 750. Other major changes to the law include:

  • Doubling Speed Camera Hours: Speed cameras will now operate year-round on all weekdays between 6am until 10pm, including summer and school vacations. Previously, cameras’ hours were variable, and they could only operate during a given school’s active hours. DOT estimates that the law’s expansion today will double the overall number of hours when speed cameras can issue summonses.
  • Extending Camera Zones: Cameras’ maximum distance from schools was expanded to a ¼ mile radius from a school, rather than the previous restriction that the camera be no more than a ¼ mile of a school along an abutting street. This change to the law allows cameras to be installed near hundreds more schools, including today along East Tremont Avenue at the corner of PS 28. In coming months, new cameras will be installed on other high-crash corridors across the five boroughs.

Fines for speed-camera violations remain unchanged at $50, issued to those who exceed posted speed limits by more than 10 MPH.  The notices of liability are issued by DOT via mail to the owner of the vehicle – and are adjudicated at the New York City Department of Finance.

P.S. 28 and East Tremont Avenue:  Public School 28, the Mount Hope School, the site of today’s event, is active year-round; over the summer, the building is host to a breakfast/lunch program and summer school.  At the same time, East Tremont Avenue is a high-crash corridor known for speeding.  From Jerome Avenue to 3rd Avenue, East Tremont Avenue ranks among the top 10% of Bronx corridors for people killed or severely injured. From 2013-2017, this stretch has seen almost 500 traffic injuries, 34 of them serious. In September 2018, a cyclist was fatally struck on East Tremont Avenue at Bathgate Avenue, less than half a mile from the new speed camera.

Speeding remains the leading cause of fatal crashes in NYC.  Speeding drivers are often unable to brake in time to avoid crashes, and the speed of the driver in any given crash increases its severity. The speed limit along East Tremont Avenue is 25 MPH, which means that as of today, drivers will receive notices of liability for traveling at speeds of 36 MPH or higher.

Public Education Campaign:  Mayor de Blasio also announced in May that a public education campaign would alert New York City drivers of these major changes to the law.  On June 11th, DOT launched LinkNYC displays, ferry ads, billboards, and drive time radio announcements airing during traffic reports.  Digital ads, newspaper notices, and bulk mailings  began this week.  DOT also posted banners at municipal parking facilities. As it prepared for the rollout of the new speed camera law, DOT began a 30-day social media campaign and distributed an electronic communications kit with flyers, postcards, and other shareable content to help build awareness.

“By extending the speed safety camera program until 2022, the Senate Majority Conference demonstrated its commitment to ensure the safety and well-being of millions of New Yorkers, in particular our schoolchildren,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I am elated that this newly enacted law will allow us to expand speed cameras to 750 school zones, including P.S. 28 in my district, to reduce injuries and deaths caused by reckless driving.”

“I applaud the Mayor and the NYC Department of Transportation for putting the safety of New Yorkers first, but more importantly it is crucial that we make sure our children are SAFE. Therefore, I am extremely grateful for the installation of speed cameras in front of PS 28,” said Assembly Member Victor Pichardo. “Parents should not have to worry about the safety of their children as a result of irresponsible drivers. The implementation of these speed cameras will help to decrease these unnecessary vehicular fatalities.”

“These cameras have proven to lower speeding by more than 60 percent. The added cameras will add an additional layer of protection year-round for our children walking near schools,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “I thank our State legislators and advocates for all the hard work that was put into passing this lifesaving legislation that allows us to provide protection at 600 more school zones. As Chairman of the Transportation Committee, I will continue working with my colleagues, Speaker Corey Johnson, and Mayor De Blasio to ensure that we continue increasing the safety of streets for all pedestrians.”

“New York City’s speed safety camera program has proven to save lives, so we’re glad to see this unbiased, unflinching enforcement technology being deployed in so many more school zones across the five boroughs. We have no doubt that this newly-expanded program will help us move even closer to reaching the goal of eliminating traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets,” said Ellen McDermott, Transportation Alternative’s interim Executive Director.

“I lost my six-year-old son, Dante Curry, when he was killed by a speeding, reckless driver in the Bronx. Even though it’s been over 20 years since Dante was killed, I live with the pain every day. My doctor doesn’t believe me, but I think I’m dying of a broken heart,” said Evelyn Cancel, Families for Safe Streets. “No parent should have to bury their child just because someone wants to get to their destination a few minutes faster. Speeding is a deadly act and needs to stop.”

About Vision Zero: In 2014, New York City became the first City in the United States to implement Vision Zero.  Through a combination of enforcement, education and engineering, New York City made dramatic changes that have helped drive down fatalities for five consecutive years, bucking national trends.  To maintain progress, since the beginning of 2019, New York City has released a Vision Zero Year 5 Report, as well as a major update to its Pedestrian Safety Action Plans.  

For more information about the de Blasio Administration’s Vision Zero initiative, please see www.nyc.gov/visionzero.

pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov

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