Lawmaker behind NYC school speed zone cameras: It's saving lives

If someone asks state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, turning traffic speed cameras on 24 hours a day, seven days a week in school zones has been worth every minute he put into co-sponsoring and introducing the law.

News 12 Staff

Feb 8, 2023, 1:37 PM

Updated 429 days ago

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One of the state's main legislators behind the law of having speed cameras in school zones says it has worked to save lives since they were installed six months ago.
If someone asks state Sen. Andrew Gounardes, turning traffic speed cameras on 24 hours a day, seven days a week in school zones has been worth every minute he put into co-sponsoring and introducing the law.
"It demonstrated exactly what we were hoping for. The program has just proven how wildly successful it is when we rely on automated enforecement to do something so basic, like just make sure that we're driving within the speed limit," Gounardes says.
While city data shows speeding tickets spiked in August when the law first went into effect, they have gone down every month since.
"You couldn't put a cop on every corner in the city and catch the number of speeders we've caught with the cameras. And the thing is, 70% of the people who get one ticket don't get another one, which means that they change their behavior, and they're keeping everybody else safe," said. Gounardes.
He says he does not think it is a coincidence that 2022 was also the first year that the city saw a drop in traffic deaths since 2018. Gounardes says a great deal of those decreases are in the new hours that the cameras have been on.
"Sometimes you don't even realize it and that's why this is just a gentle reminder, the $50 violation, you realize it, 'you know what, now I have got to pay attention, I won't do it again,'" Gounardes says.
Not everyone is a fan. Some motorists have complained about getting that ticket for doing 36 mph in a 25 mph zone. Gounardes, however, says that is not the price motorists should worry about.
"If you hit someone with your car going at 36 mph, you have an 80% chance of killing them. Is that a chance you really want to take? When folks hear that, that usually stops most of the critics," Gounardes counters.
Gounardes adds that the one place where people are still frequently dying in car crashes is on highways. He says the next step might be looking into ways to use these same cameras there.


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