New York state lawmakers passed legislation that would not only keep New York City’s speed camera program up and running, but would expand its hours of operation. As Spectrum News reported last month, the agreement reached by state and city officials would allow the speed cameras to operate 24/7, as opposed to between 6am and 10pm on weekends.
“Make no mistake about it, this is a major victory for New Yorkers that will save lives and help stem the tide of traffic violence that has taken too many,” said NYC Mayor Eric Adams in a statement. “that will save lives and help stem the tide of traffic violence that has taken too many. We are investing a historic $900 million in street safety and redesigning 1,000 intersections across the city – but we cannot do this alone, and my team and I have been working closely with our partners in Albany for months to get this done.”
As the NY1 report notes, the legislation aims to curb the rising tide of traffic violence in the city, where estimates suggest that almost 40% of “non-highway traffic fatalities” were in areas monitored by speed cameras, but at times in which they were not operating. Data suggests that traffic fatalities are rising this year, with 81 people losing their lives to car crashes in the city as of last month, “representing a 19% increase over the same period in 2021.”
According to a report by Streetsblog, the expansion of speed camera option came at a cost: the stripping away of provisions designed to address reckless driving in the city, including provisions to suspend the registrations of repeat reckless driving offenders, compel the state Department of Motor Vehicles “to inform insurance companies of their clients’ repeat recklessness,” and to increase the fines issued to repeat offenders.
A spokesperson for transit safety group StreetsPAC told Streetsblog that “It’s great news that they are removing the hour restrictions,” while criticizing the state legislature’s failure to expand the number of cameras in operation or increase fines on repeat offenders.