Ortt, Hawley Call for Local Control of Speed Limits

Citing Safety Concerns, Legislation Calls for Counties to Control School Zone Speed Limits

Kendall – State Senator Rob Ortt (R,C,I - North Tonawanda) today joined Assemblymen Steve Hawley (R,C,I - Batavia) in calling for local control of speed limits. The state representatives recently introduced legislation to address concerns expressed by local officials and members of the community. They cited safety as well as a cumbersome state process as they argued for allowing counties to establish school speed zones.

State Senator Rob Ortt said: “We’ve reached a sort of critical mass on this issue and the mentality of ‘but we’ve always done it this way’ is simply not acceptable anymore. When we have local residents and officials all pointing to the same safety issues along a particular stretch in front of a school, there’s no reason local government shouldn’t be able to act.”

Assemblyman Steve Hawley said: “All too often, we ignore speed zones and forget about the dangers of speeding, but with new restrictions in place, I believe drivers will learn to be more cautious. There is no excuse for speeding in a school zone when children’s lives are at risk, and it’s crucial that the state Legislature does everything in its power to minimize the risk of a child being hurt or killed by a speeding vehicle.”

Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller said: “We here in Kendall have been trying to address the school Speed Zone issue since the mid 1980s. We had one fatality of a high school student in front of the Kendall High School at that time. The community started our fight to improve safety within the school zone from that point forward. The speed limited has been adjusted only once from 55 to 50 mph over that timeframe, which in my strong opinion, is not enough. I'm in strong support of Senate Bill S6897A.”

Kendall Town Supervisor Anthony Cammarata said: “I fully support the legislation that Senator Ortt and Assemblyman Hawley are proposing. This legislation should pass in the Senate as well as the Assembly of New York State. What is being proposed is the opportunity to save lives.  All elected public servants’ number one priority is to protect the health and safety of their constituents. This legislation, if enacted upon, can be a major step in accomplishing that priority. This legislation cannot prevent every accident. However if it saves even one life or prevents injuries to drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists, in school zones then mission accomplished. It makes no sense not to support this legislation because what is at stake is the lives of our loved ones. I congratulate Senator Ortt and Assemblyman Hawley for have the fortitude to perpetuate this legislation.

Kendall School Superintendent Julie Christensen said: The Kendall School Community is very appreciative of Senator Ortt’s advocacy to address the school speed limit.  Our school community agrees safety of our children is our top priority. We believe a reduced speed zone in front of all schools, in collaboration with recommendations from the Department of Transportation on safety measures specific to each school location, is needed to ensure the safety of all schoolchildren in New York.”

Ortt and Hawley have sponsored various pieces of state legislation to lower speed limits within their district, but expressed frustration with the unnecessary length and difficulty of the current process. Their new legislation would allow county governments to set speed limits within school zones on state roads.