Earlier this summer, New York City began operating its automated speed enforcement cameras 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The changes was the result of a recently passed state law lifting a previous mandate that the cameras only operate between 6am and 10pm on weekdays. According to a recent report by Streetsblog, the increased operation has led to increased enforcement, with almost twice as many tickets issued since the change.
The report is based on an analysis of publicly available information by Jehiah Czebotar, a software engineer. His research found that “there were 513,777 camera-issued speeding tickets during a three-week period between Aug. 1 and Aug. 21,” approximately 211,000 more than a three-week period in July, before operations increased. That figure represents an increase of 70%.
Streetsblog and Czebotar both argue that the data reinforces the logic behind the 24/7 operation, which left nights and weekends unmonitored. “The data confirms what we already knew: drivers are excessively speeding at night and on weekends when cameras were turned off,” the engineer said. Indeed, the analysis shows that 142,240 tickets were during the three-week period in August were given out on weekends after 6am and before 10pm, while 39,037 were given out on weekends between 6am and 10pm. “An unexplained drop in tickets on weekdays between 6 am and 10 pm could be a sign that drivers are getting the message,” Streetsblog suggests, “or perhaps the result of New Yorkers fleeing the city for their vacations during the last few weeks of the season.”
In a statement about the data, a spokesperson for New York City’s Department of Transportation said that increased violations were expected, and that declines may follow. “These cameras save lives and, in previous expansion efforts, we’ve seen increases in violations followed by large declines,” he said.