New Yorkers who speed through a school zone may be more likely to get a ticket in the coming weeks, whether or not a uniformed officer actually pulls them over.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the citywide installation of speed cameras in school zones on Tuesday. Cameras are already operating at 23 school zones, de Blasio said, and a total of 140 fixed and mobile cameras will be up and running in the new two years.
“It’s an exciting time, the beginning of each school year, there’s a lot going on, there’s a lot of people moving around, the last thing you want to worry about is a car speeding by and potentially endangering the lives of children,” de Blasio said.
The mayor announced the effort, which is part of his Vision Zero plan, outside of P.S. 95 in the Bronx. De Blasio said the intersection of Sedgwick and Hillman Avenues is marked as a “high crash corridor” by the Department of Transportation, and from 2008-2012 the corner saw 42 traffic incidents including seven pedestrian injuries.
“Speed cameras fundamentally change reckless behavior,” de Blasio said. Speed cameras are a wake-up call … they make people act differently.”
The mayor also said traffic fatalities is the leading cause of death in children under 14, and speeding drivers kill more people in New York than driver and distracted drivers combined.
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said her department is still determining the ratio between the fixed cameras and mobile units, which are vehicles with cameras installed. Trottenberg said the cameras cost between $90,000 and $115,000 each, and were included in this year’s city budget. The city has collected about $9 million in speed camera tickets this year, Trottenberg said, and the number is expected to double by the end of 2014.
State Sen. Jeff Klein, who worked to lower the speed limit in Albany, said it’s unfortunate that drivers still need to be reminded to slow down in school zones. The tickets, which are $50 for drivers who exceed the speed limit by 10 mph, will create a “chilling effect,” Klein said.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. reminded parents to talk to their children about traffic safety ahead of the new school year, and said for speeding drivers, getting a ticket in a school zone should be the least of their worries.
NYPD Transportation Chief Thomas Chan said officers will be patrolling school zones this week as children head back to school.
“No one should know the pain I know from losing a sister,” said Greg Thompson Jr., whose sister was killed by a truck while crossing a street last year. “Please be more considerate on the roads, if you do drive, all it takes is a second to be inconsiderate, for a family like mine to suffer.”