State Senator Jose Peralta, Transportation Alternatives, Families for Safe Streets and parents mourned the death of the school zone speed camera program, which is set to expire today. One hundred twenty (120) of the 140 cameras operating under a pilot program approved by the State Legislature in 2013, and expanded in 2014, will be turned off. Children will no longer be protected when they travel to and from school.
For more than a year now, Senator Peralta has been urging the State Senate to vote on his bill (S.6046-C) to renew and expand this life-saving initiative. The Senator’s proposal would add 150 speed monitoring devices to the existing 140-camera pilot program as well as extend operations for four more years. These automated speed enforcement devices have been active from one hour before until one hour after a given school day. Additionally, the cameras were in operation during students’ activities, and up to 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after the activities.
Senator Peralta’s bill has currently 34 co-sponsors, including the entire State Democratic Conference, more than enough to pass the bill. This initiative has been very successful. There has been a 63% decline in speeding violations at locations with school zone speed cameras. The majority of drivers ticketed, more than 80%, do not receive a second violation.
“This program saved countless lives, and because of the lack of action from the Senate Republican Majority to vote on my bill, school zone speed cameras will be turned off today. This is senseless, illogical. This program has been tremendously successful. New York City kids will no longer be protected from reckless drivers when they travel to and from school. This is a sad day for our city, for our kids and for all New Yorkers. In September, more than one million children will return to school on more dangerous roads, this is unacceptable”, Senator Peralta said.
“Imagine if lawmakers tried to undo seat belt laws or drunk driving laws. It seems unthinkable, but it's no different from what Senate Republicans are doing with New York City's speed safety camera program,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives. “We can't eliminate death and serious injuries on our streets by turning our backs on the life-saving technology that helped bring about a year-over-year decline in traffic fatalities, and we can't adequately protect New York City schoolchildren by turning back the clock to a time when more people were being injured and killed on our streets.’
“Make no mistake: Republicans control the Senate and they could have taken a vote on the speed safety camera bill before they left Albany last month. This could have been routine, because after all, protecting kids isn't controversial,” said Amy Cohen, founding member of Families for Safe Streets. “We are going to do whatever it takes to make sure these life-saving cameras are turned on before school starts in September, and we are going to make sure the lawmakers who decided to play politics with children's lives are held accountable.”