School zone speed cameras will now operate 24 hours/day, seven days/week in New York City, thanks to new legislation signed last week by New York Governor Kathy Hochul. The approximately 2,000 speed cameras in the city’s 750 school zones were previously only able to operate from 6am to 10pm on school days. As a report by Gothamist notes, the legislation expanding the speed camera program will last three years, until July 2025.
The city’s automated speed cameras identify vehicles that exceed the speed limit in school zones, issuing $50 tickets to the owners of vehicles that drive more than 10mph over the limit. While state legislators pressed for stricter penalties on repeat offenders, those provisions did not make it into the final measure signed by Governor Hochul. According to a report by Streetsblog, Hochul expressed support for those tougher provisions in a conversation with reporters after she signed the bill.
In a statement at the signing, Governor Hochul said, “My number one priority as governor is to keep New Yorkers safe, and that starts with ensuring our kids can make their way to and from school without being harmed… I want to thank all the lawmakers who have worked so hard to make this possible, because New Yorkers don’t just deserve safe streets at certain hours of the day.” Citing previous reporting by Streetsblog on the disproportionately high traffic violence in school zones, she argued that expanded speed camera enforcement will help save lives. “We have statistics that show that during the 8 a.m. hour, when a lot of you are coming to school… there’s 57 percent more crashes and 25 percent more injuries in streets near schools,” she said, per the publication. “And traffic violence isn’t just confined to school hours.”
“Some people thought cameras were a way of being punitive, when it was not,” said NYC Mayor Eric Adams in a statement about the legislation, according to Gothamist. “It was a way of deterrence.”